My great uncle just died
and I’m scouring my memories
trying to come up with something other than
a vague impression of who he was. There’s not much.
I was closer to his wife, my grandmother’s sister,
who survives him.
I know he worked in broadcasting, sports television,
editing or something. [I could ask my mother
for details, and I will, but for now it seems more honest
if I plow through this myself.]
He was affable, always joking, self-deprecating.
When I was in college, I stayed with them a couple of times,
riding the train out to the Philadelphia suburbs.
He took me to the movies once. We saw
White Men Can’t Jump. [He picked it.]
The only thing I remember is how sexy
Rosie Perez was. I can see her very clearly,
wearing some skimpy black outfit,
toppling into bed with Woody Harrelson.
I remember driving away from the multiplex
and him saying, “Well that was pretty good.”
I feel bad but this is the clearest memory I’ve got.
He never tried to get close to me, I never asked him
anything about himself. I know you can’t
be close to everyone, but I see
how little effort I’ve made
with so many people, I see how little time
there really is
I can’t imagine ever watching
that movie again, but if I do
I’ll stare at Rosie Perez
who will always make me think
of Uncle Don