Verse – Cousin Dale

My mother’s only brother’s
only son is dead.
We were not close.
I learned of his death
from my youngest brother
only after he did an internet
search for my cousin’s
only son, when none of us
had heard from Dale for months.
He died nine months ago.

When I was 17 and Dale was 16,
I wrote a snotty sonnet about
his inordinate love for a ’57 Ford
that he had made into a hotrod.
I don’t regret having written it,
but I wish I had written him
a thank-you note for fixing
my garage door the last time
he visited.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL July 6, 2014

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