Tonight is our last on the road
in a hotel, before the last leg tomorrow. The drive will wear out my Dad,
already snoring again after a second awakening (the first by
my brother and me
giggling over a nasty pair of ear plugs
I offered him in the dark).
The AC whirs and chills my neck and shoulders
where I sit tucked
beside my roll-away, trying not to wake
the rest of them.
It has been a long day.
At the Arby’s, twelve hours ago, my brother asked me,
Does today seem wrong to you?
Mom red-eyed in the parking lot,
on the phone. Dad without appetite.
Another surgery. Another ordeal.
But maybe I was setting up shields, re-reading eucharisteo,
fastening my eyes on a single leaf whizzing by
to say, “God knows that leaf, that one
We passed the Georgia Peach, the Shot Tower, like every year
up to New Hampshire from the Florida panhandle.
I was warm and small.
I have been trying to practice Now. Like trying to see my footprint
before stepping forward.
But I can’t see this one, only feel it.
Only take the next step, presently. Look back and see the others.
Only whisper in the dark as the waves lap,
“I used to be afraid of the ocean.”
I'll be glad to have a cemetery near. No better place
for an evening walk, a ramble. For making you feel blithely mortal
This is my birthday, and I, like everyone save Enoch,
have a grave somewhere,