Edmonton: 3 for Dick

by julietseven



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.

The Undertaker.

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.