The day you heard your father died

You must use it now, your heart,
use the wheat and seed of it,
the ears and the crop, and the beating of it.
Listen to him, your heart,
before you take a step, before you write a line.

Live through that heart, his veins, his fists.
If you can, pull him up through your throat,
take a minute to kiss and recollect
the look you got when you first were given it.

Today you and he must move just right
the way you’ve dreamed: always
heads up, backs long and straight, like mice in corn.

(In memory: 22 May 1942 – 11 May 1986)

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