still loom over the picnic table,
aunts and uncles in their prime
carrying legends brilliant
as boulders in the summer sun
on that day they were all together
before they slowly tumbled one by one
from the crests of their Himalayas .
Their laughter bolts above the trees,
their rebukes halt even the wind.
They tell stories over and over
of lives no mortal will live again,
of wars that dragged them from farms,
winters the snow out peaked rooftops,
seasons when they worked for pennies
in fields where nothing grew.
They can catch anything,
make anything fly,
gulp homebrew so fast
foam still whitens their lips,
exhale smoke so exhilarating
our skin glistens.
we hear their distant voices
from the darkness of station wagon beds,
not foreseeing how they will shrink
as minute by minute we grow astride them,
that they’ll never polka again
as they do now under streetlights,
that we’ll comfort old men with gigantic ears
propped on the edges of hospital beds,
bring bouquets to women
stooped by weary hormones,
never in a lifetime find
gods glorious as these.