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.