When the Antarctic Archaeological Excavation Commission
finally drills far enough to find our alien forebears,
still slumped in the seats of their stalled craft, and extract
the DNA to prove it, I will understand why I cannot
understand my distant grandparents: why they cover their
furniture and stash scraps in the first available drawer.
They move with such deliberation that I have to look away
when they butter or cut or baste. The table was set hours
ago, and over the clinking utensils in steaming pots,
the world news says good evening, here is the bomb report.
I may have to survive on flat soda and mixed nuts.
I may learn the piano again and become the St. Alphonsus
model of youthful piety by day. One day I will do things
for them out of familial kindness and not the welling impatience,
as familiar as the compulsion to snap icicles from gutters,
standing underneath as they shatter around me. This is, dangerously,
a well-received ploy among pre-teen boys, who seem to say,
go ahead, cut me, let's find how blood dies.
The war is over and no one smiles; the parade for severed
limbs was postponed due to lack of able drivers
and stale candy. At the holiday mass said by the bishop,
I wear my starched shirt not made by a quivering child –
the swoosh factories have not yet landed. When they do,
holy white smoke will proclaim the new world order,
and we will give thanks at my grandparents' antique feast.
Do they set out these sunflower seeds when I am away,
speeding through school zones? Is my inheritance in this liquor cabinet?
I will wear a suit for when come the answers.
About Iowa Writes
Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.
In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.
Find out more about submitting by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Bald is an Iowa native, Iowa alum, and currently co-director of a small public charter school in Southern Oregon. Josh takes fantasy football seriously.
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