Friday, April 2, 2010

Poem A Day: Day Two

I tried to wait for the Writers Digest Poet to issue today's prompt, but I was up early and this is what came out. 

This is a poem for Uncle Chico, who died unexpectedly after a fall in a Safeway just before Thanksgiving. He died from a stroke on Christmas Eve. The thing that bothers me most about his death is that for all of his brilliance, for all of his life pursuits, he died a lonely man.

This one is called Ash.

Ash cold blown over hardpan              

We stand at an overpass                                  

At Highway 87                                    

And FM 963                                                   


Beyond the graves the blank fields                    

Scroll wide to a dull chalk line              

A divide between this earth                              

And a bowl of gauze white sky             


A turquoise feather, you flit                              

One child among us ravens                               

Beside a line of mid-range cars             

You drift up to take my hand                            


Raked by wind, we huddle close                      

Among headstones succumbing            

To the slow crumbling of earth,            

The constant wing-beats of time                       


My Dad and his brother kneel              

With a zip-tied bag of ash                                

All that’s left of their brother:                

Charles Michael Gravis                              


But we know you as Chico                              

Our Uncle: mad scientist.                                 

The man taught you algebra                              

And now all we have is ash.

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