On My Way

On My Way November 25, 2013


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?


"Mark, your remark about the chord from Tokyo puts me in mind of a similar ..."

For Keith Jarrett
"Thank you, Mark, for posting this incredibly beautiful and heartwarming poem. Blessings, Laraine"

The Work of Care
"That you suggest:"We need to return to our basic, caring nature now more than ever" ..."

Our Better Angels
"I just love this perspective on learning, reading and writing! Mark Nepo, you have such ..."

The Energy of Hope

Browse Our Archives