(for Uncle Jimmy and my dad)
Uncle Jimmy had a lover. Sadly
no one knew his name, ‘though they’d been
together for a good five years. Badly
treated, barely greeted, Jimmy’s boyfriend
soon retreated from our weekly dinner
Sundays. So alone Jimmy came. Who can
blame my uncle’s boyfriend? He got thinner
as did Jimmy. Not from missing out on
ziti, nor from flinty colloquies. Where
was I as they got sicker? Did I even
know their story? This transpired after
Hofstra. I had moved to New Orleans.
(That was the summer that I came out to
my dad for Father’s Day. What else is new?)
It seems weird now to admit this: I did
not know Uncle Jimmy. Sure, I met him,
weekly hugged him, even kissed him then slid
from his arms. Did I tell him that I loved him?
Did I mean it? Could he hear it? He excused
himself from dinner one night never to
return. Aunt Kathy laughed. No hush ensued.
His name was dropped; his dinner plate, removed.
His Irish wake was sparsely attended.
The obit was terse. No one spoke or cried.
My father grieved at this tearless event.
Was the cause of death really suicide?
(Later that fall, my dad wrote in a letter
he hoped I’d find a man – like mom or better.)
Drew Pisarra is currently at work on Periodic Boyfriends, a sonnet collection funded in part by a grant from the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation. His first book of poems, Infinity Standing Up, was released by Capturing Fire Press in 2019.