Peter Yovu

My Relatives

Samuel Beckett was my uncle. We called him Craggy and sometimes Uncle Bucket. On the other side of the family, there was John Dos Passos. I think he might have been my grandfather. He knew Edward Estlin Cummings in the old days, referred to him as hee hee. I would rather that hee hee was my grandfather than John Dos Passos.

Emily Dickinson was my great great grandmother. Maybe she was great great great, I can never remember. I realize that this is startling news if you are hearing it for the first time, maybe as startling as Walt Whitman’s poetry was to my great great grandmother Dickinson, though my mother says she doubts if she ever even read any of it.

My father claimed that he was actually Thomas Merton. They were both born in 1915, but my father died much later than Merton did, so I think he was joking. Frank Sinatra was also born in 1915. Honestly, I think it is much more likely that my father was Frank Sinatra.


There is it was, in the distance. I suppose my mother thought I would be excited to see it, to know that we would be crossing it, so she pointed it out. We were beginning our trip to Canada, but I thought we were going straight to hell. I want to say straight up to hell because the bridge— it was a suspension bridge, but what did I know— arched up, impossibly high, right up into the sky, and that’s where we were headed. I panicked, I yelled “stop! stop!” but the bridge came closer, we all came closer to our terrible fate: we would climb and climb and finally tumble into the sea and no amount of explanation would convince me otherwise. It was soon upon us, rivets as big as the eyes of a giant squid. I closed my eyes then. I think that’s what got us through.

Peter Yovu lives near Montpelier, Vermont. In addition to writing poetry (he has a few little books out) he creates images by taking macro photographs of paintings he does. Some may be seen at peteryovu.com.
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