Death of Squash (with apologies to Terry Pratchett)

death’s in our garden
picking out which squash will live
and which squash will die
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Dear (late) Father…

You visit the shrine I made for you
In remembrance of who you were
When you were alive
You like that I put rocks there

You visit my mother
And bring her flowers
You tell her not to visit your grave so often
You’re not there anymore

You walked straight into Love
With no fear left in your heart
And now everything you express
Is through that Love

When I wear your clothes
And carry your rocks
Next to my heart
And wear your whiskers
In a locket
I feel who you are
And who you were
Seeping into me
Down deep into my bones

Everyone tells me
I look more like myself
In your clothes
Than they have ever seen me
That for the first time
I look comfortable
In my own skin
In my own culture

You speak my language
A language of things
Not words

You gave me
All the right things
To find you again
Even past delirium and amnesia

I hope I can be in life
Half the person
You are in death

A Riddle-Song (Martha)

You think you’ll die without me
I’ve heard it a thousand times

You think you’ll die without me
I’ve heard it in a billion voices
In a thousand tongues

You think you’ll die without me
I’ve heard it for thousands of years

And no I’m not one of your gods
And no I’m not one of your demons
But I might as well be both
For the way you revere me
The way that you fear me
And the damage I do

You think you’ll die without me
I’ve heard it a thousand times

You think you’ll die without me
I’ve heard it in a billion voices
In a thousand tongues

You think you’ll die without me
I’ve heard it for thousands of years

But here’s the thing
Nobody wants you to know
And here’s the thing
You yourself don’t want to be shown
As long as I’m still around
As long as I thrive
You’ll never be fully alive

Dare I ask you, who am I?
Dare you answer, who am I?
Dare I ask you —
Dare you answer —
Who am I?

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Sleeping with Granite

Me in bed with my bipap mask on and a big hunk of granite on my belly.

Me with a bipap mask on and a big hunk of granite on my belly.

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because hard objects are comforting
In a way that soft objects can never be

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because my father knew he’d die by December
So he hand-picked rocks as holiday gifts

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because my parents chose this particular rock
Shaped like a heart, heavy like a grieving heart

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because its heaviness anchors me
And tells me where my body is

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because I sat with my family on mountainsides
Made entirely of granite as far as you could see

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because it sings me rough but soothing songs
About the feeling it gets in the noonday sun

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because granite made friends with me
Before I had human friends

I sleep with granite on my belly
Because it reminds me of the Sierras
And the Sierras remind me of my father

I sleep with granite on my belly
I sleep with a bag of stones
In a shirt pocket oer my heart:
Plain grey rock with indentations
Volcanic rock with lots of holes
Tiger’s eye, Lapis lazuli, Schorl, Jasper
Amethyst, Orange Agate, Spectrolite

And all of these
In their way
Tell me I’m home

“All we need is time, but time’s too damn unkind” (*)

my dad understood
the language that rocks speak
and befriended them

he was fluent in
mountain, rock, forest, star, tree
listened to them all

the week he died
I showed him my rock friends
he respected them

after he was dead
I received a package
full of granite chunks

granite connects us
sure as DNA and love
granite mountainsides 

my only regret
not sharing rock friends sooner
while we still had time

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