Line of Relatives Fall

Paul lined up all the bones he collected from the desert.
Largest on the left. Smallest on the right.

His phone rang last night with sad news.
His father died in his blue pickup at an intersection.

To steady himself, Paul recorded the length of each bone
instead of taking pills or a couple beers.

A stray thought placed his father’s bones in his collection.
Their unweathered whiteness separated them from the others.

Paul shivered and shook the thought away
and heard it recede like bells on a cat’s collar.

He thought about their last thanksgiving together.
How they kept offering the other the last piece of pumpkin pie.

Paul heard the door open and saw sorrow
stand stark naked in the doorframe.

Sorrow carried a photo of his father from the mantle.
Paul examined it as if it was somehow new.

His father stood in a grey t-shirt printed with a black domino
both hands pointing index fingers at the two white dots.

Paul sipped tea from a blue cup he did not remember getting.
Sorrow went to the bedroom and started packing for the long drive.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

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