The Pictures of My Grandparents on Their Crypts Were Taken on My Wedding Day (or Talking to Dead Loved Ones on a Hot July Morning in Pittsburgh)
The day I got married, we stood
in front of a burning bush
beside a pond reminding us
we were young & the world on fire,
if not for a moment,
in a place where the dead cannot speak.
The dead don’t think about the future.
As I groan in this morning, I’m both hush & noise.
My heart softens & heals & the feeling is worthwhile.
The heat of post-loneliness is slinking closer
in decades, a mournful ceremony
almost as sad as that bush in winter.
Each time there is less, just a little less.
The ruins of flowers—the fresh ones.
Though, I’m still here, homeless but seaworthy,
unmade by the weather, crumbled by element,
you whisper promises to me in the sun.
You touch my body with thoughts
I neither try to believe or understand.
We never want to know what lies
behind the marble or underneath it,
for we know it’s your future too.
All you know of the body is its past.
I can’t run
my fingers across the pictures or the engraving.
I can’t touch you.
I reach as if to touch your shoulders,
wishing to enjoy the life sinking
into the corners of architecture, waiting
for you to come out alive.
The marble is cold; memory hot.
That I never loved you deep enough to prepare
to know the feel of your cold hands
crossed over your chest. That I was to young
or naïve to understand the permanence
of a last exhale. That saying hello & goodbye is finite--
the last goodbye changing everything.
My home is still with you.
The air is thick & heavy
When I find strength, I will stand & walk,
my aging fingers clutching the smallest green root
of the tree standing before you.