05/21/2013 01:07 pm ET Updated Jul 21, 2013

Thou Art That

At 93, my father is failing. He's in between worlds, close to both life and death. We've slipped into a time of presence more than conversation. At times, he surfaces like an old whale, offering bits of this world and the next. This poem comes from that precious time.

Thou Art That

Again, I make my way to you.
I don't want you to die. But I
love what death does to you. It
softens your face, and makes you
empty your pockets to show me
what you've carried for so long.
Here, a small stone from Prospect
Park when you were a boy and the
model boat you built glided into
shore nudging against it, as if the
gods were giving you something
to hold on to. You want me to
have it, though there's nothing
in your hand. I see it father, I see
it. I take this small nothing from
you, ready to carry its secret
that no one can translate.

A Question to Walk With: Go to an elder in your life and ask them what they see from where they are in life. Journal what transpires and, at another time, share the whole story with a loved one.

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