Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Day After Veteran's Day, 1999.

It was the day after Veteran's Day
that you applied for the new job at Home Depot,

that you declared you would stop smoking cigarettes
to help me breathe better. My mother works as a secretary

at a doctor's office, shelling out files at forty knots
per second. She is the kind who wants to listen to the radio
while she's at work but can't,
afraid of offending the boss
who will not give her a raise.

I never mourned the passing of the dead, my grandfather, his grandfather,
and vice versa, people I have never met,
who did not help me with my taxes, my words, my unseeing

I do not speak much. I put my head in my hands and think about
nothing, we are almost equal to apes, grapes, lima beans,
Lima, Peru. I remember once I read a story about an Indian boy
who found sandals in Ancient Peru,
who admired the long-long dead. The dead don't come back, said my uncle,
I only speak to him on the television set, now, the Discovery Channel,
The History Channel, the Food Network, too.

Today we go to Farmer's Market. Today we speak to old men named Bill.
Today we run up and down sidewalks, yelling in Spanish, in English,
in French and German and Greek. Today we go. Today we mourn
another day.

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