How I Come to Reminisce About Baba's Hoover Cabinet While Looking for Her Grave in Weirton, West Virginia in the Winter


I suck Red-Hots until they are white and decide

to find the headstones of my grandparents

the day after we bury an uncle.


I need to verify my grandfather was only 41 years old,

Baba was 72, that Mom's parents are always down

the hill and to the right from them.


I need to put my hand on their monuments,

to rub the dates.  I'm alone, on my way back home.

Steel mills and strip mines dot the landscape.


I fill up the gas, check the oil, clean the windshield.

A local whistles "Danny Boy" and sways at the pump.

Maybe my dead grandfathers lived on his street.


I curl the cemetery roundabout to the row I think

they are buried on.  It snowed yesterday and today.

I'm in the wrong shoes for trudging, but I do it anyway.


They are not where I think.  It's fifteen degrees.

I panic, weave between headstones for thirty minutes.

I create a loose pattern about the Catholic dead of this town.


Two dozen tattered flags array before me.  Here he is, and she.

Baba, the only one I knew as I grew up—her husband

died young and she raised the four kids alone.  Her grave

is seven-years fresh, Bessemer smudged like the rest.


More Red-Hots click on my teeth.  It's like the round

candy I pressed into Baba's cookies years ago.  I'd sift out flour

from her Hoover cabinet, my fingers stained as red as my grin.

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