by Rich Boucher
He was my blond uncle,
and he was a good, blond man.
He was stronger than any animal
you ever saw lift weights.
He walked proudly around our town
with tissuey, patriotic bunting
trailing loosely from his waist
because that’s just the kind of man
he always just happened to be.
He built the Statue of Liberty every day
with his bare, pink hands and then
he allowed the French to give it to us;
here was a man who was at least just as American
as any immigrant who was American ever was,
right up until the time he wasn’t no more.
He, my uncle, was a man who stood for
whatever he stood for even if he didn’t always know
what it was that he proudly stood for,
and we were all very proud of him
for the strength to believe in his own convictions.
I would tell you what his name was,
but he was loved by so many of us
that it really doesn’t even matter
what his name was, or what we called him.
Some people called him a plumber,
but those of us who knew him
knew him as a son, a father, an uncle,
a husband, and in some cases, an aunty.
Those of us who really knew him
often thought of him as a surgeon,
and, once in a while, as a good friend.
And this man lived a good, classic American life
right up until that dark, chocolate Saturday
when he was taken from our clutches too soon
by a disease that doesn’t play favorites
but knows all too well who it likes to kill the most.
He was gone from us at the tender forty-year-old age.
The doctors say it was the late onset
of sudden infant crib syndrome
but I can’t bring myself to believe them,
even though I know they are doctors.
Here was a man who was both
an uncle, and, apparently,
a man I knew somehow.