I was enroute to see my father one more time, deplaning in Detroit, about to make my connection to LaGuardia, when my sister-in-law called me to tell me that he was gone. I’m stumbled about on the jet-way, finding the next gate. I wrote this poem on the way home.
On My Way
I’m on my way as the police
are pronouncing him dead.
And everything around him—
the IV, the bedpan, the doc-
umentaries he loved to watch,
the pills not yet taken—all of it
drops to the ground, like planets
without a sun. And my mother
leans on a chair in the kitchen,
her heart breaking wider than
she ever imagined. How to be
without him after sixty-seven
years. After all we’ve been
through, I will hold her when
I get there. I’ll hold her broken
heart to the sun where I can look
into the canyon opened in her, to
see what she has guarded all these
years, to see where we all come from
and where we all will go. Together,
alone. I will hold her firmly,
gently, so she doesn’t fall in.
A Question to Walk With: Tell the story of a moment when you had the privilege of looking into the canyon of another’s heart. What did you see there?