My Uncle Phil has died.
He of the calloused hands
who always smelt briefly of woodsmoke
Who told the story of me always hiding away and reading books
with a smile and a sound in his voice I didn’t recognize
Who made me promise to be great someday
And made the best muffins
My first role model that attacked the stereotype without even having to acknowledge it
A Navy man
I have a list of questions I never asked.
I want to know his story.
Beyond that of the sisters almost drowning him in a pig trough
or when he made ice water from melted ice
But the story that is behind that. The ones his godson knows
His real nieces
I am jealous of their connections and I grasp at the memories I have
The burn piles.
The way he said my name, sort of rushed at the end.
Hearing him talk about music
But I can’t remember what he said.
The sound of his laughter
finding its way up the stairs
down the hall
to where I sat surrounded by books desperate to escape into their worlds.
What a fool