My Father-in-Law Returns from the Dead
He seemed so happy to see me.
Skin pallid, but eyes lively, and hair vigorous as crab grass.
He sat contentedly among my family,
tucked between two aunts who ignored him.
It was at my Polish grandmother’s house,
a continent away from his Japanese grave.
Our Lady of Czestochowa, black faced and solemn,
sent blessings from her frame on the dining room wall.
I asked what it’s like on the other side. He said
it’s one side.
Then he turned himself into a lap dog
for the amusement of the children.
Later, he limped into the street, looking for a ride back to the city
of the dead. There were no taxis.
Still, he waited and waited. I knew then how much I misunderstood him.
(Published in Up the Staircase Quarterly, Issue #28)
Margaret Stawowy’s poems and stories have appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Atlanta Review, Ecotone Blog, Cricket, West Marin Review, Barnwood Poetry Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and Ginosko Literary Journal. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly and has won awards for her work from both Atlanta Review and Beyond Baroque. Originally from Chicago, she lived in Japan for eight years before relocating to Northern California where she works as a librarian.
Photo ©Richard Beban