Burying My Father (A Poem)
The corpse of my father calls me by name,
faintly I hear his voice,
like a child who cannot wake from a dream,
I am immortal no more.
Sitting in this cafe
I feel unwelcome in this town.
I do not know these mountains,
do not understand these houses.
Searching for the map to the funeral, snowflakes descend,
tiny letters from heaven, written years ago about the bad days that we’ve
come now to forgive. My waitress has no name,
she pours coffee without looking,
talking to no one in particular.
I watch the ducks struggle against the current outside,
the loose stream as aimless as I.
Driving to the cemetery we lose our way and thirty-seven years
of memories of a man press themselves against the windshield,
like a mist, blurring everything.
The car hums through the damp streets.
I do not always understand this heart
which beats beneath my coat and tie.
Nor do I understand the shirts who walk beside me,
some running from the cold, others impervious to it,
but all of us
it were warmer.
(Photo by Richard Walker)