I wonder if he’s hungry
there in his grave amongst
the sediment and microorganisms.
The Hmong relatives of his neighbors
bring bowls of rice and vegetables,
sweet dishes whose names I can’t
pronounce and cans of Coke.
All he gets are American flags
Even in death
they won’t let Grandpa eat or drink.
He loved to tell me how
Grandma kept him to one beer
a day after the doctor told them
it was colon cancer
and that first Sunday my dad
brought two forties of Old E,
one for each of them,
You said one beer, Toni.
I imagine the looks on their faces,
how they must have sat
in lawn chairs in the shade, grilling
boneless chicken breasts, raising
their heavy, sweating bottles
to Grandma as she gazed down
from the kitchen window, her eyes
narrow, lips tight.
So I travel with two six packs
of Anchor Steam in the middle of the night
when the round light of the moon
is all that guides my way through
the cemetery. I grope to find
his head stone, the name and dates
etched in the marble
as in memory, and crack the cap
on each bottle, pouring
one six pack onto the freshly mowed grass
above his body and one
down my throat.
I sit against a tree and we
discuss what will happen
when my mother and grandmother
come by in the morning
after church, with their prissy lilacs
and cheap dollar store flags.
We laugh to think of my mom kneeling
to place the flowers in the built-in vase,
discovering the ground soaked.
What we wouldn’t give to see
the looks on their faces as they drive home,
somber and perfumed with hops.