No Reason

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The Call

It happens in the morning
When you least expect it.

You’re sitting at your desk
One day, answering the phone,
When the call comes,
Your brother saying
That your father
Is dying.

You try to answer, to call her,
To make plans to fly
But breathless
You can only
Drive, drive
Drive.

The flight

And later
That night on the plane
You gaze
On the cities of the South,
And the moon is so close
You can see your own face.

The hospital

In the morning
We drove to the hospital
To pick up the brown paper bag
With his things in it –
A watch, some clothes,
His glasses. I waited
In the no parking zone
While you went inside.

When the guard walked up to me
I explained, and he nodded,
And walked away.

Visitation

In the stillness of his face
We try to find reasons

But the flowers are too bright
Violet and red and white

His face does not move
His eyes are pressed tight

And when I touch his hands I
feel ice, the ice of rage quieted.

So close the bright lid
For the wind is cold

Though the sun still shines
For no reason, no reason.

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4 thoughts on “No Reason

  1. This is a masterpiece! It is strange how the deepest of our tragedies transform themselves into beautiful language that stirs the human spirit and unites all of us into the calliope of the universe and the waves of being. I mourn with you, Steven, and tell you to be strong–as so many have told me. There is no replacing that which is lost. The most awful moment:
    His face does not move
    His eyes are pressed tight

    And when I touch his hands I
    feel ice, the ice of rage quieted.
    I do not really know how to respond to your grace in having written this poem except to tell you that the sun does still shine, as you noted, and time, as they keep telling me, softens the blow so that the sun actually does shine. I lost my father decades ago. Sometimes, in a darkened room, alone, I wonder if I really remember him, although he was powerful in my life. He was not a perfect man, but he was always smiling and always moving, and that smile and movement, in spite of the tragedies and challenges Ethel and I have faced in love together over 44 years now, are part of me.
    You are a good poet and a fine man.

  2. Thomas, I appreciate your comment very much. My dad died some time ago (1978) and there are times when I seem to forget his face… until I catch a side-long glimpse of one of my brothers (or even myself)… then he’s there in the room. I’m told by my sisters we even sound like him. I hope your medical issues prove to be minor… keep writing, though, as your poetry will keep you in in touch with the essence from which your soul springs.

    I find that I am becoming increasingly fond of a new-found friend in your son as you post his photographs… what a wonderful spirit he has! Take care. Steve

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