With nothing to do, he sat in the yard under the sun
With his eyes closed, and thought about the dead.
His mother made the first appearance,
But a changed woman with few expectations,
And in a muslin sundress and with freckled soft shoulders,
She seemed more than content, she seemed made of love,
With words hanging on her lips like purple berries,
And she shared this peace with anyone present,
But he was alone, under the sun, with nothing to do,
So he took it all for himself, the long afternoon;
With so much time, the rest of the dead could wait.
The weather changing, he moved inside
Where Bill was waiting, seated on the edge of a chair
Smoothing his wrinkles; though, in truth,
He was his most beautiful disheveled in the morning,
His legs crossed, his chin in one palm, his elbow
On his knee, his coffee cup in his right hand,
Musing over you with his eyes unplanned and
His lips moving, pulsing, as if listening
To the music of your morning voice, his face
Ageless in its creases.
The rains and winds started;
He watched from the back window, the picnic table umbrella
Keeled and inverted, its spokes to the sky,
And he wondered if it was his father still roaring at him.
Even on some calm days he could, bodily, muster the rumblings
Like a completely separate life within his ribs and stomach
And groin, the storming sources of his powerful breath;
It was uncanny, he couldn’t tell if was his self or his father’s self,
The dead or the living selves.
After the rain he took the dog for a walk,
A terrier, in old age cranky and untouchable,
Each day he wondered when the dog was due to die.
Around the corner a man approached with one shoulder
lower than the other, crooked and awkward,
Toothless and mouth locked in a half-smile.
“it’s one-hundred-and fifty degrees today,” the man bubbled
Then bent down; the dog slowly moved between his feet
And allowed the gnarled fingers to massage her tender ears.
He thought, I can believe almost anything.
This was how he would remember the dog
After she was dead.