Grace Bauer: "Brief Elegy"




Angel uncle I never knew,

uncle of the chipped wing

and All Souls’ chrysanthemums,

uncle resting perpetually

among the granite lambs,

uncle of limbo, which has since

been revised, uncle of the name

recycled as my brother,

who often seems anxious

to join you underground,

who I recall, even as a child,

proclaiming I never asked to be born,

as if any child ever had. Uncle who never

was quite a child. Uncle infant

suddenly gone. Uncle recalled only

as incident, tale of a family, sad story of loss.

Uncle statistic. Uncle who added

no further stories, no branches

to the family tree, as I have

not added. Uncle too brief

between dates carved in marble.

Uncle whose life was a dash.



Grace Bauer is the author of Retreats & Recognitions (Lost Horse Press), Beholding Eye (Custom Words), and The Women at the Well (Portals Press), as well as three chapbooks of poems. She is also co-editor (with Julie Kane) of the anthology Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical & Creative Responses to Everette Maddox. Bauer teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she recently guest edited a special Baby Boomer issue of Prairie Schooner.