Big Joe

easy

six two

huge head

barrel chest

pockmarked face

gravel voice

coffee breath

constant toothpick

banana like fingers

fifty-pound pinky ring

small-time Wiseguy

packing

a fourth-grade education

+ a big heart

always

I will remember

Uncle Joe

sitting there

troubled

angry

and confused

in his lap

I once

painfully announced:

I wish I were dead . . . I wish I were dead

to which he replied

bewildered

and wide eyed

his words

so simple

they indelibly remain

still

in

my

ears

to this day:

But Johnny Boy . . . Ya got’cha whole life aheadaya.