Friday, September 27, 2019



The man I wish I'd had the gumption to become

back when I was green and restless

requested that when he finally let go

his bones be fashioned into a kind of xylophone

and that the rest of him be buried

by the lake he loved.

He wished that his bones be played

on chilly autumn evenings when loons called

and leaves whispered a leathery language

as the wind prepared them to let go.

Beside the lake his sons could make a fire

and burn his clothes and books,

then roast whatever they could catch and feast.

But he died before I noticed, fell away

as a propped-up scarecrow falls from his scaffold

or the way memories fall from our minds

and become like small animals, mice or voles,

that know there are hungry owls in the woods

but can't stand to stay in their cramped nests any longer

and need to take a look at the moon.


Michael Hettich
To Start an Orchard
Press 53 / Winston-Salem