For my parents
The priest gathered us under the cross In our living room, parents seated, Children kneeling. The book opened, The words of old prayers flew about Like freed doves, trained to return home.
We don’t know if my brother opened The last bottle of wine, or if I protested Dad’s dying one last time, when I offered The glass of red instead of the morphine, Because, for God’s sake, we’ll do this right.
Mom and my sister nursed dad through The small hours, talking softly about What will happen to all of us scattered Too far from home. Dad told us to plant A row of fruit trees, fix the writers’ shed.
It’s Sunday morning. The sun rises In the autumn-burned trees, above our church. The priest alone waits for us with holy oil, Holy wine, incense, prayers, and songs. My brother, my sister and I walk through
The door. We light three candles. Our faces Are reflected in the face of Christ glowing In the icon lit by stained-glass-windows-sunrise. The priest calls us to the altar, where we Drink the tiny spoon of wine. Peace.
I walk alone to the room I filled with flowers Nearly seventeen years ago, preparing For my wedding. The mind has a way Of layering parts of our lives, so that dying Father, lost marriage, and those August roses
Reflect each other in the memory of icons I kiss this morning. My father’s cold hands Are in mine: “Bravo” he says When I kiss him all over his face, “Bravo”. “I’ll stay a little longer,” he says, “you fly home”.
Grand River is covered in a fog that glows In the growing morning. Maples emerge Candle-like orange through dewy ribbons Above the fogged-over water. And I take flight Through the thick cloud, up towards the sun.