“People You May Know” by Patrick Dutcher

Patrick Dutcher


This weekend, I noticed my dead grandfather’s
Facebook profile is still up. He was suggested as a friend,
an offer I never took up even while he was alive
because I can’t imagine something more awkward
than being Facebook friends with your grandpa.

He died last year and, according to his page
with its blue default silhouette profile image,
he graduated in 1942 from DeVilbiss High School.
His occupation is “retired,” and he was born in Toledo.
That’s what’s left of my grandfather on Facebook.

I thought, someone should take it down.
And by someone, I mean anyone who is not me.
He was a complicated man, or technically,
an impressively high-functioning alcoholic, but
either way, a ghost shouldn’t have a Facebook page.

Typing that—or reading it now—makes me feel haunted.
An old man with a bald head, sweater and glasses
menacing over my shoulder grouchy and boiling.
Grouchy because he’s tied to this earthly realm
by a stupid Facebook page he made on a whim.

And now here, look at me, I wrote a poem about it.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012

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