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