The Family Story
My father has asked me to write
The Family Story, meaning he wants
me to find His Story
among the papers strewn
on the tables and floor of his room.
At his direction, I will shuffle
begats and photographs, stack
and restack, name, date and diagram,
the usual ritual of our visits.
If he speaks, it is of casual encounters -
A young doctor in a Packard stops
at Grandmother’s house during the Depression
and asks for a cold glass of water.
He was the oldest, his father died,
his mother went to a sanatorium.
He burned the diaries
over the BBQ grill. He tells me
to use a straightedge
to get the lines right.