1939 - 2001
The Night My Father Left His Life
The fifteen-foot walk to the shed took hours,
hiking alone with his back to the house,
to his cats he fed for the last time,
to me driving through the mountains
three thousand miles away,
to my mother behind him,
next to him, asleep inside him.
The air was cool. It was night.
Stars were shining silver-white,
the ground sighed as his feet sunk
into the soft wet cushion of green grass.
He did not see colors.
He turned the handle, did not hear
the click or the whoosh of the door.
This is the night he destroyed himself.
He removed his glasses, set them down carefully,
took his place on the floor and
fumbled in the dark with the gun.
His final walk, his glasses,
his breath coming short and scared,
his finger, the ripping sound
tearing through the still darkness—
all of this, his final gift to me
as I, from a cold beach,
watched meteors streak
through the sky.