January 27, 2009

an ex girlfriend's grandfather

by Justin Hyde

the whole family
was celebrating
at his dingy farmhouse
outside of
solon, iowa.

was in a wheelchair
because he'd had polio
as a kid.

he sat crooked
in the chair
drinking from a flask
and looking lost.
the aunts, uncles
and grandkids
pretended like
he wasn't there.

need a smoke,
he said softly
to no one
in particular.

an aunt
from williamsburg
was telling me
how fitting it was
that i studied psychology
'cause her oldest son
god knows where he's at right now
was having some problems
that maybe
i could talk to him about.

smoke smoke smoke
cripple needs a smoke,
he called loudly
to the ceiling.

the grandma
waved him off.

i'm sorry,
my girlfriend whispered
into my ear,
i told you he wasn't right.


he threw
his hat
at the grandmother's feet.
You selfish S-O-B,
she slammed her knitting
onto the coffee table
and strained to stand up.

i'll do it,
i jumped up
and pushed him through
the sliding glass doors
onto the deck.

he handed me the flask
and pulled a
hand rolled cigarette
from his breast pocket.

the flask tasted
like gasoline.

i ain't always been
in this thing
was stout like you
'til about thirty when
the leg braces just
didn't cut it no more,
plowed some seed
in my day,
even had me a colored
in that barn over there,
dad had a family of 'em
workin' for us
back when we had chickens,
she fought
like a bull elk.

he took a huge tug
off the flask and
straightened himself
in the wheelchair,
then he told me
i ought not
marry into this family
'cause while most of the women in it
were good lays
they all had cunt streaks
a mile wide.


paisley said...

well sounds like i like the old guy.. he calls em like he sees em that's for sure...

very well written... it personalized this man and his family very well,, made me feel as if i knew them....

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