Preparing for the Funeral
On the bench a hammer waits for gnarled
fingers to play familiar tunes of swing
Rubber galoshes skid to the barn, bruise
the grass. The window frames dad tinkering
hinges from a door. He spins familiar
talk, his jaw a common bone we share.
The call came . . . too late; his relic detoured
to dance in our front room. Dad lit the air
swayed like a constellation, a fragment
of the Milky Way. I worried the house
with silent bellows.
Sun filters through dirty glass to lay
silent on the hardwood floor in angular
I knew him better for that airy jig.
His explanation of black, bunched eyebrows
over eyes that had seen World War II,
water stains on the ceiling, and holes
in his daughter’s socks.
From Arizona, California,
Idaho, Montana they came. I
loaned them pillows, fed them. Dad rambled
among us brushing a cheek, riding
a chuckle. His best profile was called
The bouquet on the piano drips petals.
Its scent, like over ripened fruit, oils
the musty air.