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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