Pie (a poem for Uncle Roy)

Uncle Roy is the uncle
I don’t remember,
the one who called grandma
on the phone
after Christmas dinner
to say hello.
He was the exotic uncle,
the special one, the uncle
who went all the way west
to Oregon
and stayed.

I know about being the oldest,
about being restless and
how you can love your home
and still not be able
to stay there.

Uncle Roy was the unorthodox uncle
who did what he wanted,
not what he was told.
His mysterious sickness
confounded the doctors and the
analysts who shook their
heads at him as he
walked away.

On his deathbed he
willed us all to eat pie
in his honor—sugar,
in our family, being
the universal language of love.
Now he’s gone again—
off to somewhere we’ve all
heard of, but
none of us have been.

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