Uncle Tom

May 7, 2008
By Meg Slattery, Denver, CO

Uncle Tom.

Uncle Tom had a pool in his apartment
At the very top
Uncle Tom gave us Twinkies when we visited
Unnaturally golden, filled with cream
Sweet like only chemicals can be
Uncle Tom had an unmistakable laugh
Rough like the teeth of a saw
Uncle Tom smoked like a steam engine
And when I was around him, I could smell the stench of cigarettes
As strong as burning rubber on a hot car
Uncle Tom once told me that I looked “sexy” with braces, I was only 10
And I blushed the color of a strawberry drenched in tomato juice
Uncle Tom. I watched him weaken
Watched the skin turn from tan to pale
Watched his once blonde hair fall out
His now bald head shedding the hairs like leaves from a tree in autumn
Said, goodnight Uncle Tom and kissed his bony cheek on Thanksgiving
Never saw or spoke to him again, no one did
Only in memories
Except for my little cousin, who talked to him one time
He told her that he loves us a misses us all very much
Sometimes I wonder what Uncle Tom
Who was over six feet tall and very thin
Would think of me now
Twinkies will never taste so good again.


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