There to see my father,
propped-up in a polished box,
one that my eldest brother,
chose, on the basis of, what?
Death was still too sour to us,
the parlour’s air throat-clogging,
this feared place of passing youth,
ten yards from the level crossing:
Often halted by its turned gates,
& scouring spin of wheels,
on our way in and out of town,
with Dad & his thousand skills:
he could dissect a battleship,
break apart any gun,
extemporize upon anything,
with sketch & rule of thumb.
Now boxed-in, he tarried,
we’d leave him, lonely, there:
my brother could not stand
the parlour’s execrable despair:
In that time, almost gone,
I learnt about death’s prop:
that last lesson from my father,
& our paths no longer crossed.