So as Not to Forget
Silvio died from Alzheimer’s.
Towards the end, he was a curious creature,
shy and yet developing a hesitant romance
with a lady in a similar condition.
Dixie called it, “cute,”
and I suppose that’s what it was.
One couldn’t help thinking of playground
affairs. We put his car keys in the casket.
He had loved to drive.
She moved to Lodi, of all places, to be near him
and she volunteered at the home,
I suppose learning him all over new,
The way his mother had learned the child.
The first thing the home had done was slim him down,
so by the time he was at his rest, his skin
was oversized. It’s not the sort of thing you notice
on a living person. They’re just wrinkles.
We left things that were no longer his,
twelve long-stemmed roses for his favorite color
and toothpicks for his pocket.
Auntie Jean made herself busy writing notes
and taping them on the bottom of lamps,
credenzas, rocking chairs, to ensure the history
of each oil well lamp and brass bed frame.
Those of us … who weren’t preoccupied
with how history could be saved
made awkward jokes in the cramped limousine.
I told myself I wouldn’t write it,
letting go of the casket,
or laughing with the cousins.
Easter was coming.
I gave up foolish resentments of Lazarus,
who had ways out of those holes dug
to keep them.