An Undergraduate Literary Journal from UW-Milwaukee

We Buried Your Grandfather in a Paint Can and I’m too Afraid to Jump off a Small Cliff

by Elizabeth Hitchcock 

Maybe that was the summer I feared water, 
timid on teaming rocks. 

I wanted to build a treehouse, 
or catch marmots, living plump 
under the deck. 

The summer my body said 
hsss 
matched the rattler, 
my misstep by the gate 
and I begged, 
Open. 

 

The divisions between mind 
and bodies more apparent 
each time I let go of 
acid in my stomach, and threw up by the pansies 
on the path home. 

It was the summer with cabin nights spent 
blitzing beside fireflies with the assault rifle 
and the shots 
shook the dust by Mount Lassen. 

 

On the hill above us, 
your family argued about how to bury 
the man who made possible 
this reunion. 

The sign nailed to the tree above 
his “grave” reads: 
“Here lies the sand heart 
of a man self-made, 
rest in the rust 
of your blue paint can.” 

 

Elizabeth Hitchcock is a poet about to graduate from Beloit College in Wisconsin. Hitchcock prefers to spend her freetime with coffee and cats. You can find her work published in The Linnet’s Wings, Common Ground Literary Review, and Bitterzoet Magazine.