STEPFATHER

by GARY MCDOWELL

 

You don’t have
              I don’t know where
decisions there were
              funeral directors I said no
the heat before the
              Fine and black and how

of the fire if I’d pick
              didn’t know what I was
your cheeks were cold
              the parlor to see you
I wanted to show you
              pipe-cleaner trees

sandy hair and freckles
              fall weekend I kept it
then you died and the
              good if the tiny
motors still spun I wish
              there was someway

kneeled beside your
              etched in stone but
and play and pause
              forward to let go what
reel its story told
              your casket when people

once twice another you
              fixed place
my fingers pass months
              and years and I’ll have
my head loop
              tears or burns