Thursday, May 27, 2010



Visiting my mother's grave,
after five years, standing
mute in the drizzle, staring
gently down at the simple
flat slate headstone, with
the inscription; "BETTY LEE
BUTTKUS" April 1927- November
1966. Beloved Wife and Mother;
Gone Too Soon."
Yes, well put. She missed her
chance to be a mother-in-law,
a grandmother, and a nursing
home resident. She's been gone
for 44 years; 44. I was born
in 1944 when she was 17 years
old. It was during the War,
and she liked those daring
young men in uniform. Too bad
she never got around to telling
me who my father was. She was
cremated. My third stepfather
never got around to picking
up the ashes.

The low rasping sound of twin
glass pack mufflers popping
and growling on my neighbor's
El Camino at 3am. He is the
only one, besides me, that
rises in darkness daily, and
rushes off to the proletarian
joys of serfdom. I am already
up, creeping about, not wanting
to wake my slumbering wife,
whose soft breathing sounds
like a dove cooing. Our cat is
curled up in the crook of her
legs purr-dreaming of squirrels
and ravens.

Three freshly naked stumps
appeared in my morning headlights,
wearing a collar of sawdust
and rough chips, like Catholic
school boys, their heads shiny
with dew, covered in still-
warm chainsaw scars. Be patient
you triumvirate, for soon the
stump grinder will come and
you will be plucked from sight
like unsightly fat mushrooms.

Glenn Buttkus May 2010

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