Missing Dad

Missing Dad

Dad in hat, about 1949

 

A poem about traveling to Kentucky for Dad’s funeral.  Miss him!

FUNERAL PROCESSION

 

December is leafless—

and the ridges south of the river reveal scars.

The snow resting on their flanks is dry and airy.

It slides off bony-shouldered outcroppings

like a thin hospital gown, and gathers in the folds

of the mountains.

 

We are following the rail lines south.

The rail lines follow the river.

The river follows the curve of mountains.

The mountains follow the corded veins of coal.

 

We drive into the coming night

following Father’s coffin home.

Lights flicker on in the coalfields.

Along the railroad track cracked coal,

as sharp as a man’s dying, await loading.

 

I trace these mountains against my heart.

They are old and crook-backed,

and as knotted with sorrow as my father’s hands.

I push my knuckles—hard—into my chest.

This night is overwhelmed by hush;

the faded hospital gown slipping,

the breath falling . . . and falling away.

Shutta

About Shutta

Shutta Crum writes picture books for children, novels for teens and poetry for adults. She is also a storyteller, a public speaker and a librarian. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, and her articles about teaching and writing have appeared in many professional journals. In 2005, she was honored by being one of eight authors invited to the White House for the Easter Egg Roll. In 2010 she was invited to tour American military base schools across Japan. Her latest book is DOZENS OF COUSINS (Clarion). It has garnered glowing reviews. And her book, MINE! (Alfred A. Knopf) was noted by the New York Times as one of the best board books of the year.

2 Responses

  1. Very sorry for your loss Shutta. Your beautiful poem speaks to worlds of emotion at a time like this. May you find comfort in all your memories.