I Call on My Uncle Cullen, Recently Dismembered

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

He sits shotgun with me when I pull over
to weep and watch the new mailmen learn
to drive the trucks. I didn’t know this

was part of their training. But here they are:
four mail trucks in a line, figure-eighting
between canna lily orange safety cones.

An exaltation of courier egrets. And here’s
my uncle taking my hands in his. Still such soft
hands. Here they are parting blooms

of Queen Anne’s lace. Here they are butterfly
knotting licorice red wires. When I tell people
he blew himself up with a homemade bomb,

nine out of ten follow with this question:
Is he okay?
It’s easier to just say yes.
But my Aunt Sarah had to give away all

of their books. She kept opening them
to find pieces of him. What a shame —
all those bloody books. I was told Uncle Cullen

was building fireworks. The ATF believed
differently. I can’t fly without getting stopped
in security now. No one went to the funeral.

My uncle: he was un-rooting trees. I’m not sure
what kind. But I imagine it was a birch tree.
I love creating this alternative in my mind:

my uncle post-blast, hands up, hands wide to catch
the bits of birch bark paper fluttering through the sky,
a roll of stamps and a pen so he could send them all to me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020