In Memory of my uncle Jimmy d. 11/30/2015

Glace Bay Boy

There were tall tales about you:

Playing truant to
jump the ice-clampers off the coast of The Bay,

or shooting pool up on Commercial
with that Neil McNeil,
like two of those trouble-boys from The Music Man
(who still served at mass on Sunday).

I can see you playing boogie-woogie
in the parlour,
at the house on York Street;
your cigarette’s hanging off the end of the piano,
Nanny kept a keen eye on the ash as it burned.

Muriel still talks about the way you spurned her
at that dance—for somebody else.
(Long-term memories don’t die.)

Oh, you sure could dance!
Mom says it was you who taught her and Joan how to jive, when you were both alive and young.
Now mom’s the only one left of your trio.

I think of you whenever I hear jazz,
or come across one of those old James Bond paperbacks, in a thrift store.
Remember, I borrowed a slew of yours?

The scent of Brut will forever conjure you.

I’m so glad I got to say “adieu”,
Before you left for good.

Kathleen Mortensen