After the funeral, we cannot shed
the scent of hospitals off our clothes.
The goose bumps off our skin.
Even in dreams we drift
like drowned runaways rescued
too late from the river.
Everything becomes yellow
as a sunflower's face,
each bloom swaying with longing.
Once you drove the country,
state to state for days,
leaving burdens in your rearview.
Even then it was swelling
within you, this desire for distance.
The serenity of departure, of not coming back.
Now, it hasn't rained for days, dust
gathering along roadsides, and already
everyone has forgotten when I
slipped out the door. The assumptions
made during the embarrassment of silence.
I'm becoming accustomed to absence,
the spirit's space, its hollow.
Already my mother fills boxes,
donations for goodwill on a front stoop.
Already she detests grief, how it spreads
like weeds in a garden. Painful and
persistent as a migraine.
We are losing you moment by moment,
your memory slowly decaying like a sweet tooth.
The army uniform, the unworn suits.
Antique records gathering dust in a basement,
where ghosts crawl up through the foundation,
wander between rooms. Sadness and jazz
in infinite doses, the music useless
as a stripped screw.