Apr/May 2016 Poetry

On Innocence

by Mark Magoon

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

On Innocence

My uncle is red nosed, knobbed
he is a small puff of hair-colored hair
the wind—he's half of himself now
and he can no longer drink
since he's been stuck by staples
boy did he used to though
but now he's getting gone
and out through his gut, but
he can still really speak.
Softly, he talks about his big brother
and as so small bits of tobacco split
as he smokes his Winston cigarette.
We walk together
outside of cousin's wedding
(one from the other side)
when he wets his lips, draws in
and whistles through thin teeth—
his two hands with a life-time's worth
of mechanic work, dirt and hurt
meet in mash-up before me—
two warped, balled fists
beating together for emphasis.
How he could hit
he says before he hurt his back.
He bobs his ever-unthickening neck
back across his angling shoulders
his head hovers back and forth—
back and forth across the field
he mimics the moves my father made
to show me how his big brother
his hero could hustle.
And how grateful I am, even then
that he is able to take me back
into his wholesome memory
of high school football
and away from the honesty
of his death.


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