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Prestidigitations

Prestidigitations, slights of hand,
ribald connections, affectionate ties,
as predictable as magic
He meets the famous medium—
she convinces him that she sees his dead dad’s rages,
that his dead mother still wrings her hands
at his dead, older brother’s crimes,
that his dead younger brother sees him alive,
plays impish, fond jokes upon him, and still laughs
No harm in that, I guess— just don’t light
matches in white clouds and please, stand with me
in the back, with the others
Nature is brutality, genius—
the sweet, tough nurse, her hands gnarled
with rheumatoid arthritis,
could still give injections, her affliction born
so gradually, I think, she adjusted to it
and taught those old hands their old task
How did anyone have affairs
before cellphones?
“Come over, dear, all is clear”
He didn’t despair or act bitter, thwarted or resentful
He wasn’t alienated, conflicted, confused, or drunk
He quarreled with none of us and
he’d never let us see him suffer
You couldn’t squelch him, stop him or ruin him
He avoided predators and leapt over impediments
We were bored much of the time,
much of the time scared
It’s always a crime to be poor
He couldn’t drink himself—
he was an alcoholic from a long line of them
A drink or two would cripple him
But he loved to see us drink and he
would join in on all our silliness,
loud, friendly raucous talk and fun
Images on the local television showed
a heavy set, bearded man with glasses
led away in police handcuffs
A generation of victims makes for
a new generation of perpetrators—
the same old atrocities for each
No father at his graduations
No mother at his wedding
He was never one for celebrations
I don’t care for sculptured narratives—
they usually lie, like some phony excuse for
abandonment in this godless world
He wasn’t much of a talker
but he communicated in prose and silence
the pathos—all the sadness of past things
He had a stammer (overcome)
psoriasis (fought with it his whole life)
and  occasional asthma
He married her so she could escape to England
After the war they were seldom in touch but they didn’t divorce
Grateful, she left him a small legacy in her will

 

 

 

-April 19, 2014-