Today's poem is by Kevin Young

Uncles (Play)

There's a way a man walks
up to a counter, hands deep
in pockets, stands ten feet
away, waiting to order—give me

a minute—
There's a way a man will say
Let me have two
& doesn't mind everything costs

too much & will pay
for everyone even
though he can't afford it.
Why complain? There's a way

last names
ain't enough & first
don't fit, so family
friends, men, get

Uncle before them—
christened, like god-
sons, or ships, called
kin so long you forget

who's blood. Uncles ask
what you think
& mean it, eat up
all the yammer pie & get

forgiven. They believe
the world will end, will
tell you when
then laugh at themselves.

Play-uncles can show you how
to set up a stereo, drink
beer like water (that thin),
how to bet the horses

& how not to win.
Uncles know
how best to get to heaven
but give out

the country directions—
turn right by the old oak
catty-corner to the rock that looks
like a horse drinking its fill

& hang your first left
beyond the quiet hill.

Copyright © 2007 Kevin Young All rights reserved
from New Letters
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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