[Table of Contents]



Ben Kline


Swill 5 shots of Wild Turkey
when dusk forgets
the cooling magenta
of midwinter afternoon
4 nights w/out reportable sleep
7 hours & 93 days after you stopped
seeking/seeing him
& his gold band
at (the birches crowding)
the fishing hole
your uncle Joe's oak-handled axe
from the locked fence shed
→ firmly held w/ both hands
fingers forming a church roof
squirming like curtain-free confession
(cloudy beads condensing on the brow beams)
& Father T drops his Bible
twice (you told the truth!)
→ hammer forward
& both your arms bent
at 45°.

Lock the door.
Close your eyes. Pour
what ounces remain of the 5th
through the cherry boards.
(Roaches crawl
drunk in the dirt.)
Inhale & fall
forward (fall toward)
No epiphany, no envy
→ just hot & sticky
wet swoon
teeth, bouncing
(into epitaph, Uncle,
at last.)




I hate math, but I love how it looks. How it moves on the page/screen, and this poem facilitates me combining that visual movement with another of my favorites: dead uncles. The inspiration for the uncle in this poem comes from a different branch than [Uncle Mike], but like most of the uncles in my work, he too was doomed by circumstances of self and consequences of place. Which is to say the limestone in his bones, while eroding, remained pretty with tears.