3 FOR DICK
The day Dick died, Mum –
everybody calls her that –
sat in the chesterfield and spoke
unstopping for 2 hours, sighing
only sometimes. Murdered
aunt, diabetic friend, cancers, cars, no good
hearts. She listed every death that sprang
to mind – the young mother next door
with bumps on her head, roe
antlers gone wrong. Would
that she were back in Ukraine, leaping
through fresh spring snow,
the horn for the chase not yet sounded.
Instead, she’s dying here in Edmonton, dear
only to her own –
Row row row. The boat. The poppies.
The round repeated lest
we forget. The recitation. Mum
talks on: The day Dad died (No, not Dick –
too close!). Her own Dad. found upright
in his chair, lips half-parted,
as if he were waiting to speak.
Dressed in brown all the way down,
Dick rarely gets up from the chesterfield.
His feet bare, he lies there
watching tv. Skinny old man.
There’s a great athlete.
Watch what happens now.
Down in the dark, by the washer
and dryer, Dick’s den:
a stack of tapes, flicker of frames,
world without end.
No script, Dick says. No way.
You can’t fake wrastlin’.
The basement’s cold. This story’s
been told a hundred times.
My god, that’s gotta hurt.
See how he flips the poor bastard?
Rewind. He shows you the flip
again, slapping his thigh
as the Undertaker’s rival hits the mat.
The Undertaker leaning back in the ropes.
The Undertaker’s skin gleaming.
The Undertaker triumphant.
My dad jacked off on a rock
and the sun hatched me,
was Dick’s line.
He passed that one
down to his only son
who carries the family name
with its cock-strutting sounds,
and carried too, finally, Dick’s
box of bones
into the Rockies.
He crowed at daybreak,
a quick cough of grief,
then poured the clattering
syllables, Dick’s teeth and hair,
ashes all, into a river where
white water spills on northern rock,
cross-hatched by the sun.