Tuesday, May 30, 2017

when i was a boy

my mother would go over to my uncle frank's house
and help with things
sometimes i would tag along...

my uncle frank always had on his old green shop shirt
sitting at the kitchen table
half the man he once was-

i used to sit at the table
and talk to my uncle frank
mostly, i would listen
as he told me stories about my dad
his blue ford pick up
and that old fishing boat he used to have...

he would ask me how my father was doing

my dad was dead though.

had been for at least 6 years
but i liked hearing stories about him,
my father.
i never knew my dad
have no memories of him
he left when i was 2.
died when i was 5.
and all i ever heard
was that he was "a fucking drunk"
and i'm sure he was,
but my uncle frank seemed to like him
and i liked hearing his stories about him-
my dad,
"the fucking drunk".

now i don't know if anything that my uncle frank told me, about my father, was true?
because of the dementia
but i enjoyed hearing it anyway
i would answer his questions
with a simple "yes"
or a "i don't know"
and he would go on and on...

my mother would finish up
and we would leave
this went on for a few years
and then my uncle frank died...

i don't know too much about him,
my uncle frank
i don't remember what he did for work
and why he had a green shop shirt
with his name on it.

i don't really remember the stories that he told me,
about my dad anymore
but those stories
whether fancied or real
helped shape an alternate, and important image
of my father
something, besides me hearing that he was a drunk.
which i'm quite certain that he was...

i do remember going to my uncle frank's funeral.
i remember seeing him
in the coffin.
it was the 1st time i ever saw my uncle frank
in anything besides his green shop shirt...
i wasn't sad, but
i preferred him the old way;
at his kitchen table
in his green shop shirt
telling me stories about my father
and smiling
flicking his ashes
as the hours went by-
my mother cleaning...

i like to remember him that way,
uncle Frank...

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