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Gilbert Allen

Posted by admin on December 14, 2012

 

Gilbert Allen is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature at Furman University. Some of his most recent poems and stories appear in Able Muse, Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, FlywayThe South Carolina Review, and The Southern Review.

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Uncles

— December 1978

The day before Mom’s funeral, like bats,

they fluttered in at sunset — Joseph, Tom,

Steve, Oscar, Henry, Eddie, John, and Bart.

Hungover and determined, they’d all come

 

from central Pennsylvania, in two cars.

They trudged into my father’s house — little

men, stooped from mining anthracite, eight dwarfs

in search of their first ending, single file.

 

So long they’d told the story of eleven

brothers and sisters. My father served them shots

and beers past midnight — when, praise be to Heaven,

they all staggered out. Their unlit cigarettes,

 

their wrinkled faces broken umbrellas

stained with rain, for their lost Cinderella.