Inside my grandfather’s house are photographs
hidden behind photographs. Faces grinning up
at two bodies dangling from the courthouse maple.
He carried no weapon in his trunk
except fishing rods, a rusty can opener,
folding chair and plaid wool blanket.
The poster on his office wall featured a woman
with three breasts; always give the customer
more than he expects.
When the first grandchild is born half-Mexican,
and the next half-Italian, he waits for a third
then says Look, I finally got a good one. Me, I read
how those not standing close enough to hit
the boys threw rocks and sticks.
The mob let one go. Later, he said he knew
so many, their lawns, their scuffed black shoes.
A bloody shirt flew over Boots Street.
My grandfather’s house remains
the one I know, and when I wave goodbye to it,
he says, I don’t see why you have to go abroad.
You’re already a broad.
Summer back there still comes on
thick as a chest cold, the water between
me and Kentucky coughing softly.
Neon fish play fiddle above the tavern door.
Inside, faces I might recognize drink beer
the color of river water. Redeem rising up
from the bottom of every glass bottle. If I can’t
turn his young gaze, I still have his eyes, pale blue,
and beady as dimes, which do not change, which buy
him nothing now. In another picture, women drink
martinis from baby food jars, belt their dresses,
and smile without showing their teeth.