In My Father’s Eyes [Poem]

I do not remember my first-formed breath
lord willing I will not remember death
but I see tears fall in endless reprise
And I know death’s traces through other’s eyes

In my father’s eyes I see his father
encased in fine-carved oak at the altar
a too-soon sight for mine young eyes to see
amid tears poured forth in his memory

Laid there amid bright floral arrangements
this pale-cheeked and gaunt-lipped last testament
was poor proof of the true weight of the man
could this really have been part of the plan?

In my youth I had seen him move mountains
his heavy voice off hillsides resounding
his presence overflowing every room
a man too big to be held by any tomb

Even in his sickness-filled later days
his determined will shone through like sun rays
yet far stronger than his will was his soul
such that in his dying he still seemed whole

In the hollow walls of that common church
on hard-wood pews we sat solemnly perched
bearing witness to an uncommon man
while ghosts of teardrops down somber cheeks ran

Cars processed silently down misty streets
to watch his body laid to final peace
In that steady stream of cars I was sure
all those tasked with remembering him were

My eyes were dry as we followed him there
so that a better witness might I bear
the vision of him laid to rest in earth
the end of a cycle set at his birth

Returning home to deep gloom we succumbed
as from the domain of death had we come
though I’d seen him rest on that well-cared lawn
not til later did I believe him gone

Expecting from the door to come a knock
as though he were merely out for a walk
and was guided home by heavenly route
the empty door was a poor substitute

By degrees our lives slowly moved onward
Though our lasting truths were surely altered
between the past and us are many ties
I see his father in my father’s eyes

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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