I have visited
my father’s grave
(I cannot tell you how I feel;
I do not know myself.)
But, there I stood
and looked at      His Stone
and touched its coolness, and ran
my fingers along its grooves
and crevices      bitterly empty
and thought,

“This is as close as
I can ever come to knowing
your existence.

(Pictures don’t do it –
they are images of a man
long dead.)

But, you are here
[or what is left of you]
You are here, and it’s
the story of our lives:

Six feet separate
our physical selves. Six
feet that might as well
be six million…

Six feet.

And, still, I can’t touch
you, and, still, I have no                (one)
proof that you once were.
Here you are — forever
beyond my reach.”

I visited my father’s grave
and stood above him
thinking darkening thoughts
that made me want
to rip with ragged fingernails, to
grasp a shred of
rotted flesh and paper
bone. Thinking that,
if I didn’t turn to leave,

(and soon)

that I might make it so.

And, so,
judging my sanity
and the half moons of
my nails
innocent for now,
I turned and left the digging
for another day.

Copyright 7-26-1990
by Margaret Floeter
(All rights reserved.)