No mound of dirt was shuffled to top a grave.
There will be no tombstone nor epitaph, no weeds to pull,
lawn to mow, flowers to tend. There will be none of these.
Only this box, this terra-cotta colored plastic box comprised
of a sampling of him, secured by a seat belt on my car’s backseat.
It’s fallen to me to transport his ashes from a city in Ohio
to one in West Virginia, my poor dad, who’s had the misfortune
of dying in a hospital two hundred miles from home.
How ironic I think, that of all his years of living he never once
rode in my car, yet here we are on a road trip together.
This is not my father.
But it may as well be, the distance looms between us
just as big a gap as it ever was, minus the polite conversation,
the awkward moments we’d always encountered when together.
As I drive I feel this need to talk to him, to tell him what I have
always wished I could say, I love you Dad.
But the words won’t make that transition from head to mouth,
prove themselves no easier to say after his death than they did
in life. So I recite my poetry to him, poetry being the only thing
I have to offer, words I’d never shared with him when he was alive.
Poems flow from my mouth as freely as the tears which stream
down my face. I cry for my dad, but also for myself, for all the hugs
never exchanged, all the words left unsaid.
The car is eerily silent as I drive, searching the sky for a sign,
something to let me know he is at peace. But there is nothing, only
blue sky dotted with clouds and this plastic box entrusted to me for
safe delivery. It asks nothing of anyone, gives nothing in return.
Shortly it will be delivered to its final destination.
Without hoopla or fanfare it will be placed on a table set up for the
ceremony, put there with all intent and purposes of giving him a