Mary Soon Lee
all those long days Gary sat
by his dad's bed, listening.
He just wanted a couple of sentences--
the clock's hands wound back
for one more joke about the Pirates
throwing a ball game.
he cleaned out his dad's house:
pillows steeped in tobacco;
almost in fashion again;
fishing rods lined up like soldiers;
boxes of intricate handmade baits;
a house full of things
saying their last words.
Poet's Notes: This poem is about a fictional character but draws, inevitably, on my own experience of my parents dying. The details are different--no tobacco, no fishing rods--but the emotions are universal. Reading an article entitled “A Million Words” by Dave Barry, about his own father dying, triggered the poem. It was a grief-stricken piece in a book of humorous articles, and it was heart wrenching.