Hey, kids. I'm a-leavin for Florida soon. Thought I'd post an updated version of an old poem that's been seeing some action lately (it's rare, of course, for my poems to see any action outside of being on my computer). This one's for the family I've never met, I guess.
THE OLD COUNTRY
I hear all these stories
about our grandparents
about Catherine and Nikoli,
about Vladimir and Bunny,
forced to marry in Siberia by economics and
she's the owner of the snowed-in general store
and he's the only one who knows how to use a shovel
she’s an overanxious surgeon
and he's a drug dealer from three shtetls over
she's a subsistence farmer
and he a roving checker champion, who has always dreamed of settling down.
So many obscene combinations of history.
He's a stock broker with a golf tattoo
and she's a freegan fisherwoman
he a pedophile who cares only for the sax
and she's his deaf grandmother,
she's a tribal chieftess
and he is a Norwegian Conquistador, blinding and glorious in his metallic sealskin
she is a human frisbee
and she is a human pinball machine, based on an action movie.
he is a prodigal ping-pong genius, whose hand was flash frozen to his favorite paddle, while playing outside in February, and she, amazingly, the same, except for a gigantic fro that blots out the warmth of the sun.
she could be a hippie who's into anthropomorphism
and he's just an an asshole soldier who can growl convincingly.
She may simply be a palm tree, he a mysterious fog
and their child, their baby child, is an islander with a bamboo spear.
Regardless, they always end up
in some tentative embrace
under the icy hot sun
in The Old Country, feet not quite puncturing
the layer of ice resting on the earth,
almost as though
they were hovering.