At age fourteen
I had a father
and then I didn’t
dead at forty-seven
just like that.
My name was
on his tombstone and
I could never be alone
under that anointed stone
and there was not a single
bone in my mind that didn’t crave
a loud guffaw while all the quiet people
crowded the incense-reeking church from
the icy howl outside where soldiers stood
and made my mother wail and wonder why
she had a son but not a man among us who
could measure up and dead became my pastime
as I grew frolicsome another thirty-three years
until at forty-seven stone alone I could not die anymore –
I just didn’t have the strength.
An when an angel’s wing de-iced,
I took hold of gossamer, for the flight of my life.