There are too many weird things
No light in the hall tonight when I went to bed.
no need for one.
The stained sheets
Tucker all alone in the basement
Does it smell like death down there or is that in my head?
I will never give dad that tie for Christmas.
His body is lying naked in a fridge somewhere.
No wedding ring, no necklace, no soul inside
And today is Friday
And tomorrow is Saturday
And a week from now
it will be Friday again
And he will still be gone
& I will still be here
Me: You had no money
almost no ability to move
You were the poorest person I knew
Dad: No I wasn’t; I had you
I hadn’t cried in a few days
not since the funeral
I cried today
But I think I was numb
for a while
Being sick and dealing with the practicalities of the funeral,
I had no space in me
to mourn you
Now my cold is retreating
and my heart is remembering
that you are gone.
People talk about a hole in the heart
I don’t feel that so much.
It’s more like a gnawing
like there is a set of incisors
latched onto my right ventricle
and they won’t let go
Sometimes, I see your old t-shirt in my closet
and the jaws clamp down hard
and steamy blood pools in my chest cavity
I don’t know what to do then
do I wallow in it? pick up your t-shirt, smell it, maybe even put it on?
do I move on and close the closet?
do I throw your shirt away?
no, not that.
Right now, I can’t look at things that remind me of you
It hurts too much to be reminded of you
…as if I could forget
When I talk about you now,
I’m supposed to add “-ed”
I don’t want to
I don’t want you to be gone.
I thought we would have more time.
You died on a Thursday morning
I cried thinking about your eventual demise the night before
Did it hurt?
Did you know it was coming?
It was so hard for you to talk at the end.
Did you have last words?
Did you have a last fight?
Remember holding George Brunner’s baby in the backyard last summer?
You loved babies so much
and we laid her in your lap in the wheelchair and you looked…content and nervous
You worried about dropping her
Your body had betrayed you in every way possible.
I’m glad you got to hold a baby one last time
Even if you won’t ever get to hold mine.
What’s it like with Jesus?
Are you bored?
Do you get to watch the Bears and the Cubs?
Do you watch me?
I want more hugs, daddy.
And tell me why I call you daddy now?
Three and a half weeks ago, when you were alive,
I never called you daddy.
It was either “Dad!” or “Daaaaad” or “Father”
(the last always accompanied by an eye roll)
How were your last three weeks, daddy?
Did you miss me?
Were you holding out while I was there?
Did you give up when I left?
Did you let go when I left?
I’m glad you’re not hurting anymore
I’m mad you didn’t try harder.
I’m selfish that way.
Who will I call when my car makes a funny noise?
Who will mediate fights when mom and I go at it?
Who will walk me down the aisle?
At least we had our slow dance at Susie’s wedding
Did you know then that you were months away
from never walking again?
I think you did
because you hated to dance
From the moment you asked me
until we sat down again,
I will remember your tall frame holding mine then
just as vividly
as I will remember
holding your drained frame
in the bed on September 7
Your cold greasy forehead against my lips
Your clenched hands wrapped in mine
Your white toes poking out from the sheet
I said goodbye to your body then
I’m not planning on saying goodbye to your soul