My Grandfather’s Neighbor, Whose Name I Forget

Back to poetry that makes me say, “What the hell?”

My Grandfather’s Neighbor, Whose Name I Forget

“Aside from inculpatory evidence,”
said the drowning man, “what else you got?”
He was my grandfather’s weathered neighbor
a jaundiced gent, blinded since an accident
in ’64 and half-deaf. He puttered around the yard,
yanking weeds and raking leaves but this time,
he was busy drowning, though not too busy
that he couldn’t bend my ear for a while.

“I feel contempt mixed with pity for you,”
I replied. “Is your name Leon? I always forget.”
The man’s head dipped below the waves and
he fought angrily to rise. And rise he did, like
some doomed god, seafoam in his beard, his
milky eyes wild as a spooked horse’s, his chest
heaving like the bellows of some iron beast.

“You don’t get to know it,” he pronounced
and died. The monsters of the deep sang his name,
further proving how out of touch I really was.