by Todd Boss
The musician in the family got no stone, nor any upright marker in the grave patch, just a chrome plaque that smacks of an at-your-table jukebox, flat on the ground in the grass.
Poet among farmers, my father’s father’s brother had what others called “whims.” He gave violin and piano lessons in town, published wartime ballads for the lovelorn that sold for a dime at the five & ten.
Perhaps this seemed to them enough of a shrine for one who, rather than hay by the half-mile, tended rows of music and rhyme.
In the only photo I have of him, my great uncle’s beard is Whitmanesque, his smile is warm and wise, and there’s a charm in his eyes, which, like his grave plate, gives a glimmer to the stony sky.
The blood we owe to uncles skips a measure, I know.
And yet I’ve come to somehow own the memory of him, in the same way one may long remember, after the words are gone, the melody of a song.
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