The saucer orbits of Greek Easter
and Catholic Easter
clanked into alignment to share a calendar Sunday—
2011, but days ago.
Maybe the same as when I was ten.
It was Yia Yia and the nightgown fastidiousness
stringing out and cleaning the tubular lamb tripe
for the Greek Easter soup.
The last parts of the lamb—dregs.
God—what infinitude and young life sodden there in a
feast's discarded squishiness.
Taboos salt a child's tongue by odd meat,
luscious texture. Uncandied and raw.
Mothers pleat only-children in silky dress slacks
so loose in their brushing sensuality
that the blushing comes in uneven chafing strokes
of awkward age, erection.
Tubular pant legs, sparkling intestine,
minuscule pushpin globes of watery blood
on the outer slope of the diabetic fingertip—
all tubes engorge in the young red-faced strangeness
like towheads thrust through
Yia Yia and her daughter-mothers and
the tender-bickers make the soup
the oxygen tanks hiss, the furniture squeaks
encased in lamination, gameshows
click audibly from the crossword room as
waterwheels turn powered by spring-lamb blood
in my grandparents' end-stage apartment
under awnings of pastel green or polo shirt teal or
the aquablue cassette tape ribbon of
facial capillaries grow bloodier in color—
in perishable love—
than the pure red Easter egg.
The afterlife is modern and bizarre. In Greektown
Easter is a black man commissioned to
caricatures of pastry puffed cheeks.
Mobile billboards motor through antique intersections
stupidly pronouncing an expiration date.
In the casino the slots are metallic plastic
shaped by clunky molds and board-game themed. Cartoonish cloud
figures in the chinging coughs of cigarette mouths pitching
with escalating registers.
Sticky coins, oversized promotional cups.
But the mother and son are playful in exaggerations
of their ethnicity
in the hopeful resurrection of
that recollected love.
Across the street at Papou's Cafe
every old waiter is newsprint putty molded or
sweetened dough kneaded
Easter royalty—each an old family friend
a memorywashed dance coach mom had
in her youth as the Golden Greek Girl
prepping for the Miss Detroit pageant—
blonde Greekness and the
for her overlooked competition talent.
The lamb arrives. Where the toughened
heart-meat is chopped into the soup of modern replication
the meat of tenderized intentions browns
and slips from its
bones, slinking into saucers of light rosy wine.
The soup is better across the street, she says.
We'll get some to take home, she says.
We find floating bits of heaven where we can—
delighting in the reminiscence of its texture.
And the plurality of it all
into a single retina—
phototricked a sickly red
in the flashbulb
of the tennis-court tables
or the collapsable poker tables
encircled by kiddies in a green-tiled basement:
like bright clean blood
or the egg
undented in the cracking game
dyed so blood red
maybe a sick animal laid it—
embedded in the loaf
of sweet Easter bread
or glandular sweetbread
like a ruby in a candy