Tuesday, March 22, 2016

EXTREME UNCTION

In a dream I had—walking
with jingling
keys, I happened upon my illustrious dead

grandfather,
at the end of a dim hall, back in the tall
town where I (sort of)

grew up. Only, instead of five,
I was thirty-
two years old. And he,

then in his mid or late sixties, baggy and manila-
clothed—and likewise a
bit of a priest, who married lots of pretty

keys to their locks—had become none
other than the
janitor of my Catholic school.

Thinking this likely as tense and strange
for him
as it felt for me—I figured (especially

since we both
were grown
men now) probably

best to open with a joke. Hey,
grandpa, have
you heard? They say you can tell

how important
a guy is—
by how many keys he carries?

He did not
smile but promptly told me—
to shut my

fucking mouth up,
spitting on me a little
in the process, and that no

one likes a smartass.
Which I guess was alright,
because, like I

said, we both were men. But also,
alas, as
now I could plainly

see a lot
better, because he wasn't
really my grandfather

after all.
He was—my goddamn
mother's dad.

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