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.
To Start an Orchard
Press 53 / Winston-Salem