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

in Lumby

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.