The Night Uncle
In the body bag I knew his mouth:
beneath his lip, a rip of beard,
between his teeth
– four chipped to perfect Pi –
the bullet wound to Bedlam.
Look at our family photograph: lined-up
like peach pits. All of us dropping
shame for this one picture.
After asylum, he sold shoes.
Once I tried to swim him back, but the sea
slipped. With his face beside the dune,
his bubble breath was gaseous, gas and nothing,
his eyes open to the night’s three-starred belt.
I buried you in the garden, in the hole
I dug to find you worms, with the trowel
I used to quarter them – grotesque tendons –
If your parents ever heard you –
on the blacktop, cupped in my hands,
hungry, hungry – they heard you then.
If they came for you those three
nights you kept life
But forgiveness is hard,
false as the hand I gave you, now gloved.
About the author:
Jayne Warren is a professional dog walker by day and poet by night. She has studied under Barbara Helfgott Hyett and Daniel Bosch. After graduating from Walnut Hill School for the Arts she attended Smith College. She has been writing and publishing since the age of 8. Her work has been published in magazines and anthologies like Rough Plains Places.