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Granduncles Of St. Lawrence County

Papa's standing sort of bovine
In the shrine of his brother's room, the priest
Recently deceased in this North Country heat
Lunch meat on the kitchen counter
Mary's counting bug bites on a sunburned shoulder
I'm counting sacramental rites and old crucifixes
All my great-uncles' nights of cocktail mixes
Are over
Then we encounter
Accidental modern radio hits
Spits his brother's boom-box
From the room walks Papa and then sits
And then it's

Where the handicap tourist-trap putt-putt courses

And trailers patched with corrugated scrap metal and divorces
Well, I got a granduncle and he lives inland
Where the pure manure summer vapors get fanned
By electric fence whir and a wave of the hand
Of the Amish infants standing barefoot in the sand
While the gas-station kids hang out idle and bland
At the Subway

Well, him and Anne died down in some dim town
Where he built a swimming pool into the swampy farm ground
Where the accumulation of the dimming pounds down
Since the 70s

The pool
Has a cool blue aqua shade
Like the Gatorade that my dad likes to drink
Where you'll peer into the pump-house, dear
Or the diving board where you laid on the brink
But please don't freeze or fade
Like the bottles of booze
That snooze beneath the sink
And if my reasoning gets frayed
It'll cauterize us tauter ties someday
I think

When the roofers jump in the seaway
At midday in their jean-shorts to cool down
We'll go down to Morristown
And bask there in the decay
And ask where our summer glories drown
With the subtle carnage of the bloated rock bass
Sucking in the bright sky summer boat gas
Floating there
As we boated past
Slinking through the stony Thousand Islands
That go sinking in the water with the slickest absence of violence

In the musty attic loft
I knew your young sore ecstatic soft

The waitress' language was blaring out, “Can you
Bear the despair of the typos on the menu?”

I wheeled you through the field with the billboards
You wheeled the Ford to the sordid Price Chopper
Where every shopper was leaning in the struggle to stand
Like the green copper-stained gravestones that sink into the land

That night
Earthworms were squirming their way through my dark feel
Some sermons found permanence on ancient-burned reel-to-reel

If permanence is arbitrary
Who decides the summers where we will
Be forever?
I'd like to meet that thing
It's a dimming thing

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