Poetry & Prose

My Uncle, The Mad Inventor

He told it well, his joke:
15 cups a day! he swore
You do not drink 15 cups a day!
I do too!
We laughed and he smiled, looked around the room happily.
He has succeeded.
He is alright.

I find him alone in the kitchen.
Heavy breathing, he paces
Back and forth, back and forth,
And looks up with wild eyes
When he notices I’ve come in.

I know what he will do next.

He will tell me his ideas,
His business propositions,
A company that will revolutionize the world!
An invention that will solve all our problems!
And what do you think of it?
I could’ve walked out,
Could’ve made an excuse,
But I stay for some reason
To hear him through.

What do I think?
I know I must lie and tell him it’s great
Because he will never know otherwise.
He is fifty years old, after all, no longer a child,
But he waits for my response
With a child’s anticipation
I hear myself chatter, as I do with most people,
But he listens to every word
And I do not know why they matter so much to him.

He reaches for a glass and the porcelain shatters
Falling, falling
From his shaking fingers, bloated and slippery with sweat,
And he curses,
It’s alright? Right? Right?
He brushes the pieces aside, for he mustn’t be caught,
As The Destructor
The Animal
The Klutz
shhh shhh shhh
a secret it will be
that he is broken.