A friend can only die once.
And yet it
a spoor that never stops,
winding through the landscape
like a scar,
ribbon cutting open
hills and over
flowing banks, I look out
laughter falling silent
as a ghost
time bares all things
all reliable assumptions
teach a lot of poems about death,
and Frost's “Home Burial” moves me deeply,
but some students are freaked by the idea
of having the body of a baby in the parlor,
and they resent the mother in the poem
for mourning so long. “Get over it,” they say.
over it? Jesus. My dad was still
grieving on his death bed for his mother
who died 73 years before he did.
And I'm still grieving for him 7 years
after his death. Grieving doesn't stop
like a TV show you can turn off,
An episode of ER or Survivor.
Forgive me for telling and not showing
but what they don't realize is this pain
I feel for my dad and this pain he felt
for his dead mom are what connect us
as sure as the turning of the earth.
is a house across the field.
Faster, walk faster,
From the other side where I started
It did not seem so far away.
I have been walking toward it a long time,
through mud, the turned ground
and now this snow beginning to fall.
The house has grown
only slightly larger
and I think I see someone outside.
Yes, I am sure of it —
people, two or three, beside the house,
I am waving, suddenly waving
but out so far in this openness of field
will not be seen or heard.
before they go inside
whoever they are, before they close the door
across the field
where nothing is growing,
the gray, flat horizon.
from Soldier's Home, © 2004, Water
Press and Media,
Flower Mound, Texas