UNCLES by Nikki Finney

Mahogany men
with massive hands and broad mustaches
who outlived wars
and married feisty oak-imaged women
be tight with money
tender of heart
and close to me

a gallery of fathers
each of whom planted me
in the well-kept gardens
of their youth
moistened the soil
with vintage tobacco juice
and asked only that I listen
and grow to the rhythms therein

men of mahogany
and oak blossoms
who relaxed late in life
and understood that leaning
was because of trust
not weakness
men who though not supposed to
protected shielded
their oaks
because as they taught me
love is never what it’s supposed to be…

Category: Love,