Drunk Un­cle

Geist - - Findings - KAYLA CZAGA

From For Your Safety Please Hold On. Pub­lished by Night­wood Edi­tions in 2014. Czaga won the Far Hori­zons Book Award for Po­etry and the Ralph Gustafson Po­etry Prize. She lives in Van­cou­ver.

Funny bone of ev­ery fam­ily. Wears the same old skull T-shirts for thirty years to un­nerve his mother. Grunts his mono­syl­labic moniker—bob, Tom or Lou—at whomever he’s in­tro­duced to. Go ahead, he winks. Pull his fin­ger. Braid his chest hair. Top of the odd­job totem pole. King of the all-you-can-eat. Afi­cionado of the naked lady tat­too. Won third in a mous­tache com­pe­ti­tion, punched out first place. Too young to have fought in Nam, but knows a guy who knows a guy with no thumbs. Did time a bunch of times—asks, You need meth, ma­chine guns, snake’s blood? Late to your wed­ding in an al­li­ga­tor tuxedo, he stag­gers straight into the open bar. Resur­faces for his too-loud lec­ture on the hul­la­baloo of mar­riage. And he’d know from his three, all great ladies, mind you. He bends the con­ver­sa­tion to con­fess he’s a les­bian. Wres­tles his neph­ews one-armed and wins, tosses squeal­ing nieces. Chases them around the buf­fet, bran­dish­ing den­tures. Rough­house in­ven­tor. Un­ex­pected best friend of the re­li­gious aunt, he pecks her cheek as they hob­ble the two-step. Be­gins his sto­ries, I had a buddy up in Fort St. James, sum­mer­ing in Tim­buktu. Has bud­dies for ev­ery oc­ca­sion. You can tell it’ll be long yarn, the way his eyes roll up into the wa­ter spot on the ceil­ing above your head. He yam­mers the nails, beats the dead horse, bags the wind, blows it hot and beery into your face.

It’s a slow shit, man, he whis­tles, star­ing cock­eyed into the world’s faulty wiring.

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