Stanza Is the Italian Word for Room
(on benedict’s retirement, how i learned to stop worrying and love the catholic church)
It is so holy to be old.
(Vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse.)
My grandma in her white carpet stanza
refuses to install track lighting (it’s tacky)
to highlight the glitter in her dying eyes.
Opa shared his final stanza with two strangers,
crippled fingers scrawling fugues on scrap paper,
unable to unfold his fingers over the keys.
Oma in her condo marvels at the skytrain,
popeye pizza and hoards dietary supplements
in her kitchen drawer.
Uncle Morris in the Okanagan sun stanza
still smiled when his sister-in-law
whispered chess into his large lobed ear
while Aunt Barbara refuses to visit,
walking with one glass eye
in the empty lots
where she said his spirit lived.
Then Uncle George just dying
in his diapers, losing his dreams
of a whites only golf course
as a swift fingered filapina
sponged his slack limbs.
Finally you, benedict, your shoulders
bent forward in heavy red,
a supplicant posture, just another
broken holy father.