Kitchen necromancer, mom unburies
the washer each week from its shallow grave
of crochet magazines, Wonder Bread bags
of phone bills, coupons clipped and saved towards
some unexpired future where Point Beer
doesn't trump groceries. She even saved
the washer box. More than once Maytag saves
me from boredom—cramped beige cave where buried
treasure hid, the way I did from dad's beer
rages. Make-believe vampire's cardboard grave
in the basement, stamped Montgomery Ward,
half hidden by newspaper towers, bags
of squirrel tails, severed ends salted. Bags
squirreled away like paper acorns, saved
for emergency beer money. Howard's
Trout Lures paid a dime a tail. Dad buried
the silver bodies in the woods, their graves
a quick kick of neon leaves. Later, beer
became my friend in the navy. Barely
eighteen I'd cruise the back roads, no baggie
of dope. Just a bottle. Amber gravel.
While I'm in boot camp mom files for divorce.
Back home on leave we make wild raspberry
vodka, laugh at berries tumbling toward
nothing. I grip my grimoire and draw wards
to keep my father banished, start to bare
myself to me … young gay Wiccan buried
in a sailor suit. Mom starts burning bags
of romance books in an oil drum. Fire's salve
warms our faces. Smoke fills the sky's wide grave.
I lob a hair-spray hand grenade. Engraved
in dusk: its flash, the drum's red sun. Forward
thirty years: I own the house, father solved
by death. Mom lives in town, her barricade
of fear torn down, all the rooms of garbage
burned, the drum burned through, the ashes buried.
I dig a grave and pray and sip Point Beer
while light falls. Toward dark, I empty bags
of tails—gray tangle I saved to bury.