Your pregnant wife’s car, slammed into a soybean field
She and your youngest son, taken
But not to vacation bible school
Your son who liked to draw on his bedpost with his red and blue markers
Took two more days to die
Your firstborn, the first baby you’d ever held and the one you had the most nicknames for
Took one day more…
The thread cut forever from right-angled reality
Life would be a bloodshot blur
The sun dared to rise the next day?
You at once had no family.
I saw your face through the haze
Numb through the candlelit procession
You didn’t want to hear their songs of sad hope
You wanted to be assassinated
And God to be too, right along with you
I turned away from your rage then
To leave you in your lonely war
But you recognized my battle and said, “Wait.”
Your eyes became young again
Brought back to when they beheld guitar tabs and differential equations
I carried my old violin case hand painted with glitter nail polish.
We took different forms so we could listen
Without distraction of elegiac pain
We spoke with our eyes and by how we harmonized to each other’s verses
You fell in love with your wife again, mid-song
And children’s laughter fell upon us like percussive twinkling bells
This is where you would dwell.
In your life, they live.
No one would deprive them of life
You glimpsed your future during the bridge
Over the years exhaustion would come over you and you’d collapse under the splintery beams
Those last few moments of breath
Would be the only respite since before that fateful day
But you watched the moments themselves stretch
Blanketing the years of loneliness working ninety-hour weeks and tending to your rose bushes under the moon;
And extending beyond the spheres of purgatorial earth:
Its soil and its sproutings
Its storms and its stillness.
The final refrain
You breathed and you sighed,
Clutching the climactic note for longer than the measure
Then surrendering it to silence
You sighed and you breathed
And you breathed
2017, Amaya Engleking