Memorial Days

The park’s in bloom, its gate seeping honeysuckle.
I work to shed some flab I gained last winter.
It’s a year since I spoke at my father’s grave

Before bayonets and brass bands for his memorial.
Twenty-four years of loss I had to disinter
And put back again with a smile and a wave.

I can hardly remember what I thought or said.
My gravity’s art weakens and uncoils.
Eased, what was caught to my orbit drifts.

I slough skin and clip nails, scrub iron pans of fat,
Pick up blue Doritos bags, purple soda cans,
Some disorder obvious, some imperceptible.

I keep too many books—some his, half still unread,
My house a vault piled up with pointless spoils,
Acquired or passed down, some stolen, or gifts.

What’s in them? Hearts and wars, cities knocked flat,
My father’s marks, lists, sketches, small plans,
Lives that in time became impossible.

Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is the author of three collections of poetry, Sixty Sonnets (2009), All of You on the Good Earth (2013), and Caligulan (2015). His fourth collection, Last One Out, will be published by Measure Press in 2018. He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a rare book dealer. 
Ernest Hilbert

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Author: Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is the author of three collections of poetry, Sixty Sonnets (2009), All of You on the Good Earth (2013), and Caligulan (2015). His fourth collection, Last One Out, will be published by Measure Press in 2018. He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a rare book dealer.