First published in Presence #70, July 2021, pages 100–101. Originally written in February of 2014 for my dad, who died on 26 January 2014 at the age of 85. See also “Into a Roiling Sea.” 

ashes to ashes—
the grey of dad’s drawing
from his childhood

                                                snow on the hills—
                                                the drive to the service
                                                seems so long

                                                                                                cloudy but no rain . . .
                                                                                                I need another metaphor
                                                                                                for dad’s burial

                                                discussing the weather . . .
                                                on my funeral program

open to freezing rain
the roses
on the casket

                                                a cappella hymn—
                                                a few snowflakes fall
                                                into dad’s grave

                                                                                                memorial service—
                                                                                                mother has decided
                                                                                                to stop dyeing her hair

                                                slow eulogy—
                                                my wife slips me
                                                another tissue

the burial service
runs a little long—
cracking sky

                                                hands clasped—
                                                a snowflake melts
                                                on the wooden casket

                                                                                                funeral’s end—
                                                                                                my reflection missing
                                                                                                in the frozen puddle