Your face was never as cold as this stone.
A sorry replacement.
I stare at the slab, searching, but there is no soul to find,
no wrinkled face to smile,
the familiar twinkle of your eye extinguished.
It is all bare bones.

The ground beneath my knees absorbs
my single tear.
Obliterated, erasing all trace.
If they never saw me cry, it didn’t happen.

My imagination doesn’t suffer, painting a face.
Speaking to me with your voice
you tell me that it’s all ok. You tell me your jokes,
the ones I never fully understood, but laughed at just the same.
And then I realize it was just the caretaker
mowing the grass and talking to himself.

A phone call, two thousand miles away.
You were lowered to the ground, and I ate dinner.
Separated, sorrow; you are there, then there you were.
If I did not see you leave, how can you be gone.

The knee that held me when I was young I have not
needed for many years. Until now when it is gone.
Your firm hand held mine, and years made us change places.
The number I should have dialed so many times
is disconnected. I cannot cross it out.
Too cold. Too final. Too real.

The caretaker starts to sing off key.
I stand and smile. This frail bone is not your soul.
Merely the earthly reality needed.
If I rise with joy, how can you not smile.


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