Captain Lovell, ["Dad calls her the Dowager but I call her Aunt G."]

By Gabrielle Calvocoressi Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Dad calls her the Dowager but I call her Aunt G.
Aunt G. at the Polo Lounge. Aunt G. drinking gimlets
by the pool. Aunt G. asking about Babe even
though she’s the only one who sees her that much
anymore. She wears ten rings. Seven on her
right hand, which Dad calls the Seven Stars.
They make the glass seem like it’s going to crack.

She doesn’t like me very much. I know it.
I’m not her kind of girl. I won’t wear dresses
and when she placed the ring inside my hand
I just said, “No, thank you.” Not even thinking
how rude that might sound. What would I do
with a ring like that? I’ve got my own stars
and she doesn’t really want to give

me presents anyway. She gave Babe a car,
her dark brown Aston Martin. And she gave
David a watch to “remember home by.”
She gave my Dad a look when he said, “David’s
a good soldier.” Like he gave her something bad
to eat. She just shook her head and said,
“I’ll never understand what kind of man you are.”

And then she said Dad would have that young boy’s
blood on his hands. Which I don’t understand.
Or why she said, “You’ve gone and lost the both
of them. You’re your very own Pol Pot,” while looking
through her purse. It shone so bright it blinded
me. For a second I saw spots and couldn’t focus
on the thing. One clear stone that caught the light

and made reflections on my glasses. I didn’t want
it. I don’t wear things like that. “Who are you?”
she asked, not in a mean way but like she truly
didn’t know. And didn’t really care. She took it back
and asked me if  I’d talked to Babe and I said
I had not and no one else had either.
I said, “She’s living in the hills.”

And she looked at the ring for a minute
and put it back in her purse.

Source: Poetry (April 2014).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2014

Biography

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of Apocalyptic Swing (2009) and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (2005), both from Persea Books. She is the senior poetry editor at Los Angeles Review of Books and teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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