Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I sat with my boys last night and laughed and laughed,
falling-off-the-couch laughter, black humor about
death and ashes and gravestones, a particular
vocabulary of details known only to the three of us.
About bits of foil and a single plastic fork
(not two forks, mind you, just one) and a long-deceased
cat named Phloem and the twist-ties that
bind-up lettuce and odd bolts & screws
and whatever it is in your junk drawer
that can take on a second use as decoration.
Cryptic, yes, I understand.

My father's gravestone, from 1966, was replaced
when my mother died to a slab on whose surface
both their names are etched. The original stone --
a chunk of marble glinting blue in sunlight --
lies in the garden of my Brandon Street house,
unassuming, humbly announcing my father's
all-too-brief life to the occasional nuthatch, the jay.
And yes, the long-gone Phloem is interred not far
from that spot under the Akane apple tree,
as is Phloem's mother Xylophone.

What else to say about these odd facts?
Yes, we are irreverent. And yes, goddamnit, it's funny.


  1. i love that the original stone is in your garden.

    black humor is great. it's life-saving.

  2. How incredibly healing--and how I love imagining the three of you laughing.

    And a cat named Phloem?


  3. laurie: yep, it sure is!

    Joannie: I know that you get this.

  4. I smiled at your post - I've also some discarded gravestones that are now headstones for pets. From one beloved to another; recycling grief.

    (Love your cat names)

  5. Patrice: it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one with old gravestones as garden ornaments!
    And I love the notion of 'recycling grief' -- that may just be the title of a new poem.