In Pursuit (of grief)

In Pursuit (of grief)
[after reading Joe Stroud’s poem “Provenance”]

“My father had little use for poems, less use
for the future. If he had anything
to show me by his life, it was to live
– Provenance


My father died alone, shot so full of morphine he couldn’t care his wife had left his options to the docs & I, home on holiday, went to work dismantling a life file case by dresser drawer until all that remained was the gavel from his lodge & his ashes which I declined to scatter…

& when the crematorium called & inquired, ‘What’s to be done with the box?’ I asked it be dropped at sea, you know, tossed from a plane or however it’s done & when they seemed perturbed I’d not take charge I lied a bit & said, “It’s what he’d expect.”


Today, when I pass a neatly ordered field of corn or beans or tomatoes, there’s usually a man behind a plow or hoe or walking down the rows & stooping to pick something, put it to his mouth & taste its flesh to know how it’s going & how it’s going to be in the end when he’ll finish what he started.