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Wrote this a few weeks after you went away. Happy Father’s Day up in there in the sky…

In soft upholstered seats, we sat—
five lucky, wet-eyed front-row patrons—
and lifted our feet as your roots snuck and crawled under them
(and those of your other honored guests, lined up in neat rows
ready to offer us their peace with handshakes and salty half-smiles)

On that same morning, we took turns,
walked onto your lawn and knelt at your side
and kissed the topside of your trunk, cold and white
and planted a photograph and a flag on your left
and wove a chaplet between your branches, alive and wet with sap

You lay, cold as stone, in a parlor-garden adorned with wreaths and posies and shrubs—
we picked out the reds and whites!—
atop a carpet of damp earth, packed down in the days prior
to cover our tracks, to hide what we’d rummaged and ravaged through 
in hopes of finding pieces of yourself that you’d remembered to leave behind

We dug up what we could out of the soil at the feet of your tall life;
In all of our hunting, in all of my hunting
we collected only fruitless fragments,
stacked and saved and stamped:
two dusty telephone books
your sticky wedding album
full ashtrays and empty Winston cartons
postcards to and from New York
the last ten years on video tape, the last sixty in vinyl
bright white cardstock, coffee rings
cigarette butts and Plato’s Republic
and an unsettling collection of Pick Six tickets; this was all

We forced stoppers into the polished, holey (porous – not divine) maple around your bark 
and slipped temporary dirt into your cracks until the late evening.
Here still, we could not believe that in all our searches we had found nothing,
not a single dog-eared testament,
just small souvenirs of the days you had so carefully chronicled,
stacked and saved and stamped:
miniature answerless artifacts, piled high and valueless, costly and hollow,
documented in the dust

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