Poetry: Next of Kin


It took ten years for her skin to finally burn
again. Look at the translucency,
veined leaves,
bruised.

Rose hip. Light blue.
My grandfather hasn't been in the country
for years.

His mind wasn’t matched to hers. He left
all his kindness to my brother. She gave
me all fire. 

Hard to see her body decay.   
Paper bones now.
Red dots.  Blood clots.  Age spots.                           
Always forget she is just mortal.

The first time she spoke of him she said
he was so kind,
            so gentle.
My mother says he is in New York now.
His cells are depleting like
her mind.

When she speaks of him I want to intercept
the conversation with a hand across
the Atlantic. Rebuild the sand to rock
him back to paternity.

To me he is Aeneas. She, a wounded doe
that rips the arrow from her chest. Dido did not deserve
the funeral pyre. In my mind the flames still burn
brighter than Elysium’s sun.

I always think of him when the wind
blows from the north. He seems big enough
now to form a breeze in his dying lungs.
For his breath to carry
a whisper.

When I met him I was only surprised by his size.
By him not being complete holiness. That her words
could fit into this moulded

hourglass. Even now, frail in a hospital
bed in a country she's never been to.
She closes her eyes
and sees him as
Heracles reclining.