Sunday, July 19, 2020

At my Grandfather's Funeral

At My Grandfather’s Funeral

 

The day after Grandpa died,

we walked to the funeral parlor by twos.

There were no doves or olive branches,

just a rainbow of broken glass on the sidewalk

dark brown and bottle green

like the seed beads I strung

onto necklaces as a child.

 

At the funeral home

Grandma Ray smiled nervously

through her red lipstick

and handed me a packet

of Kansas sunflower seeds,

I’ve been meaning to give these to you.

 

Months later, my pockets sprouted--

golden heads as large as cabbages.

By fall, seeds fell out as I walked.

Blackbirds began to follow me

gathering by the hundreds.

 

Now I prepare condolence cards

for Uncle Keith’s daughters. I think

signing them is like signing yearbooks.

You write nice things about someone

you’ll never see again.

 

I slip packets of forget-me-nots inside

these colored envelopes.

 

Seeds cheat sorrow with life—

in a tight package waiting for water and light.

 

Maybe life is just a string

with different colored glass beads

of leavings and partings or seeds?





This is the first poem I wrote that began my journey as a poet. I think sometimes we create something that reminds us what we want to do or to become. It holds symbols of all the things we want to do and sometimes it's too big to use for anything useful and sometimes it's just right, like this one. This holds all the beginnings to my poems and I come full circle to talk about this again in my newest poem "Excelsior." This was published in my book "Kinglight" in 2017 and is sometimes my form that I try to find again in many of my poems to do "dream re-entry" or magical realism that people call whimsy, but it's too sad for whimsy guys! So if you find a word, let me know. 

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