-1The Caretaker

We are looking for the
grave of my paternal
grandmother, early

afternoon, Mothers Day,
sky is white and fat
with the hints of rain.

I have not been here
since the funeral,

maybe fifteen years ago, or so?

I ask my mother;
we have both lost count.

The caretakers office
is a Catholic purple,
the color of Deacons Robes

and an old photo of the
Pope hangs in the corner
(it's the old one, not

the new one, and I think:
"How Scandalous!")

The caretaker and my father get to talking,
they grew up in the
same part of Seattle

though my father,
almost sixty, is a few
years ahead of him.

He says when he was a
kid the neighborhood
was soft,

like paper money, the worth
of a dollar discarded. Once
he filled his mouth

with sugary candy for
only ten cents. The local
firemen always

wore otherworldly grins,
and doors were made
without locks.

He looks at me, I smile
back, I am obviously
the caricature of

a foreign generation with
my leggings, and purple
flats.

He thinks I don't get it,
but I do, it's just the
way that his mouth moves

that I don't like, the gold
crucifix around his neck,
the pot belly,

receding hairline. His
absolutely apoplectic
knowledge of this graveyard.

She, my grandmother,
is sandwiched between
a gravel road

and the grave of a
distant relation to
Nick Nolte.

"Really!" I laugh,
mother hushes me,
I can tell I'm not

wanted in the conversation,
too young to fit my body
into this tale.

Outside it's freezing,
I pull my coat close and
we begin to walk.

Even though we have a
map detailing the highlights
of this hollow ground

it still takes us fifteen minutes to find her.