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Jun 2016
The heavens are salt gray
and the sound of soft thudding
is the only proof of me
in the vacant slot between night and morning.

Each thud presents itself to all my senses:
a heartbeat,
a blink,
the soft shock running through my knees
when my feet hit the sand.

I stop,
and so does the thud
as I pull in the pangs of sea air.

I try to remember if I was walking or running.

Thud, it goes.
Now felt by none of my senses,
something intensely non-physical,
without sharpness,
devoid of definition.

Crackling snow on a dusty TV,
suggesting an idea of lateness.

is the thud that comes to me.
My father
and how I feel him with every sense,
then none at all
as I lose him all over again
in every heartbeat,
and footstep.

Shapeless memories
are all we are offered of the dead.

Pictures that fade.
Stories too,
and even love.
But never the pain,
sensitive and senseless
always there
in every thud.

I bury my face in the wet sand
and kiss the holy ocean,
the only religion that ever brought me peace,
and I have swum in them all.

Yet even here I am unbaptized,
absent are my father’s eyes.
Ash now,
like his smile,
his broad chest,
that bitter, smoky smell of his.
Scattered over an infinite expanse of ocean.

But I imagine he is here.
Some chunk or fragment,
atom of molecule,
has worked its way here
between the salt and sand.

So I kiss the wet ground
knowing maybe,
even against infinitesimal odds,
I am kissing his cheek.

And here he is not trembling,
not soundless,
not empty.

Here I feel him
and I feel nothing.
John Carpentier
Written by
John Carpentier  United States
(United States)   
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