I had a dream about my father.
And in the golden mean between its full embrace
and its breaking splinters, lapping and overlapping like a fractured bell,
a truth was shrill and clear.
Maybe if I had said, if he had said, “I love you”
during the time of his dying.
But we passed on those chances, settling instead
for our arms entwined as we leaned in together,
like awkward windblown trees locking branches,
on greeting, at parting.
Maybe if we had persevered beyond that timeline
separating tousled hair and handshake,
persevered across the interzone, still able then –
stumbling both within the space between,
one grizzled cheek against another,
bony shoulder into chest –
to hear each other breathing.
Maybe if we had persevered against
that space between,
then your body in death
(the broken nose that rose above
the sunken cheeks, the slightly parted lips,
the marble ridge of your forehead,
the hair slicked back as in life)
would have yielded up for me alone one final breath.
I cried then as a son cries by his father’s body.
And I cried as I walked away for the space inside,
which was surely still the space between.
And, in part at least, this dream now speaks
to all the crying since that time, arising from a space inside,
which is surely from the space between.
Love is never the answer, even when it seems so shrill and clear.
Love is the same questions, lapping and overlapping
like so many tumbling bells.
NOCTURNES III by Morton Laurisden – Sure on this shining light.