Avoiding the work of weeding
is a habit handed down from my dad,
a piss-poor farmer who’d only raised
Hell and a few eyebrows.
Panicky days I wish I could be
the good gardeners my brothers are,
plant some burgandy lupine or painted pansies
neatly in short-clipped grass.
But I must find my own
headstone, discover my faith in earth
rich in blood. The sandy hole
we dug on Petty Creek holds the fired
remains of our father. Funny,
My Old Man liked reading
cemetery markers, wanted to be buried
in a gunny sack. We did it wrong:
left him bound in a strong plastic bag
sealed inside a cardboard box.
We dropped him square in the ground,
staged a silly B-movie conclusion.
Only Mother’s tears played right.
Weeks later, my brother and I
resurrected Dad, our final family plot
as outlaw sons. Afternoon grave-robbers
digging gold dust and whispering our need
to be good boys again, we cut his smothering
shroud, freed the flinty ash at last,
our skin and bones, to breathe deeply
the burlap—soil and stone. We put him back
in the dirt, sent him home.