Uncle by Michael A. Griffith

metal
.
Uncle 
.
Arms tired, hands
like useless crane shovels
legs strong but stiff as
tree trunks. Your shoulders

.

have held others up, as
the cane you’d just as soon leave
at the Elks’ hall after bingo
supports you now.

.

Now you sit fiddling with
glasses three years too old,
eyes awash, blinking, reading about a man
who you voted for but wouldn’t now.

.

Now a car passes, its music thump-
ing like the metal press at the foundry where
you gave your best years,
your best blood.

.

Blood in your hanky, your
coughing, your dreams. You
tell no one. It is your job now to hide
such things, to protect

.

your family, your friends, the
few who are still here, who
still might worry, might wonder.
Tired, how tired too soon.

.

Too soon to go to bed, Jeopardy
isn’t half-over yet, and your son might
yet call. But you start to doze after the first
lightning round, the first can, the first

.

star appears low on the horizon.
Cloudy later on, a drizzle falls,
your son doesn’t call. You wake, neck
sore, chest heavy. Sluggish, down

.

the hall you get into bed, then lie
there, staring into the dark, sounds
of the bingo games and metal press
ringing through your head.
.
New
Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry as he recovered from a disability-causing injury. His poems, essays, and articles have appeared in many print and online publications and anthologies. He resides and teaches near Princeton, NJ.
.
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