Anne By Any Other Name Is Still Anne

I remember green-brown eyes in the sun
on the mobile porch of his mobile home,
mobile because of the red brown bourbon
he'd swirl in his glass, taking a sip
and bathing each tooth in it,
before he'd call me by his dead wife's name, Anne,
and he'd tell me another dirty joke.

At ninety, his skin was warm brown,
his hair was still black, and
His smile as wide as the gaps in his memory.
He called all women Anne and told
Them of how he and his wife had
Driven across the desert to California, in the forties.
"She was a hot one then," he said
meaning the desert and his wife.

At ninety one, in the retirement home,
He barricaded himself in a room
With a woman he called Anne.
When they broke the door down,
He ran away to sleep in the woods.
At ninety two, in the nursing home,
He found a woman who didn't mind
Being called Anne.
And at ninety three my uncle died
In her bed:
Full of Anne.

MaryAnn Bennett Rosberg