Ode to a Little-Known Uncle
I would not use two hands to count memories of my mother’s uncle.
I knew only that his hands had plucked her from deep waters.
That he had become her hero when she was too small to swim.
This hero passed on in a scene not unheard of to an officer of the law.
How many times, I wonder, had his wife played this scene in her head?
How tragically romantic that she would hold him as he lay bleeding on the ground;
That they would whisper, “I love you,” and then he would fly away to Jesus.
What a dreadful coward, this bullet Cancer, which stole his life on the restaurant floor.
But I know that this heaven-bound hero did not die unloved.
It was enough to know when I held my mother as she cried.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”