As he jiggled the key in the lock
each evening he returned home from work,
his cued, quick parrot began to squawk,
Where’s Eddie? Where’s Eddie? Where’s Eddie?
til my uncle barreled through the door—
Honey, I’m home! (his vaudevillian’s joke)—
to let that straight man chew one knuckle.
Then Eddie died, and Aunt Anna swore
that chatterbox screeched rote rhetoric
every time she trudged back from the store,
creating a tenth circle of hell,
Where’s Eddie? never allowing her
a moment’s respite from grief, though she
told that feathery philosopher
He’s dead. Eddie’s dead. But such a swell-
educated Hegel couldn’t quit—
Where’s Eddie? Where’s Eddie? Where’s Eddie?—
and Anna, grown foulmouthed, psychotic,
He’s dead, he’s goddamned dead!—til one dusk
she snapped and stormed that Catskill comic’s
stage, rattling bars till the stunned parrot
sprawled from his spotlit plank, his scrambled
brain dumb now among split seeds, carrot
shreds, such sad confetti!—the silence
sweet, my prankster uncle gone for good.
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2006
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.