Like the Woolworth's Five and Dime
of my childhood, now steeped in sepia and must
a gesture to nostalgia and all things swell.
This is where the writers commune
to serve up words with cappuccino and sweet pastry
a veil of dust like fine chocolate over all.
Tonight's featured poet reads
a series of elegies with titles like headstones:
Daniel A. Silverman 1928–1989
and chisels the marble of living
to memory without remorse.
It just is. Everything dies.
As will my father, 1931 to ?
I can't see or bear the date, drop the pen
the sandblasted inscription already blinds me.
I find the restroom. Wet cool fingertips against
burning eyes. He was told today—respiratory infection
and degenerative disk disease. This, after
aneurisms, bypasses, defibrillators
a medicine chest never big enough to hold it all back.
Tough guy, rugged, but this pain
he can't muscle; it tears through his shoulder
down the left arm he cradles like an infant and rocks
to console the sear of fading.
With each failing I take him in
attach another umbilical where mother is
Nana and Papa, others lost to passage.
I return dust to fluid, rebirth the dead, gently
pat and soothe the sting.
I walk back to my seat, pass a crate
25¢ paperbacks: The Body Beautiful
The Men in Her Life, A Taste of Loss.