When I got to his marker, I sat on it,
like sitting on the edge of someone's bed
and I rubbed the smooth, speckled granite.
I took some tears from my jaw and neck
and started to wash a corner of his stone.
Then a black and amber ant
ran out onto the granite, and off it,
and another ant hauled a dead
ant onto the stone, leaving it, and not coming back.
Ants ran down into the grooves of his name
and dates, down into the oval track of the
first name's O, middle name's O,
the short O of his last name,
and down into the hyphen between
his birth and death--little trough of his life.
Soft bugs appeared on my shoes,
like grains of pollen, I let them move on me,
I rinsed a dark fleck of mica,
and down inside the engraved letters
the first dots of lichen were appearing
like stars in early evening.
I saw the speedwell on the ground with its horns,
the coiled ferns, copper-beech blossoms, each
petal like that disc of matter which
swayed, on the last day, on his tongue.
Tamarack, Western hemlock,
manzanita, water birch
with its scored bark,
I put my arms around a trunk and squeezed it,
then I lay down on my father's grave.
The sun shone down on me, the powerful
ants walked on me. When I woke,
my cheek was crumbly, yellowish
with a mustard plaster of earth. Only
at the last minute did I think of his body
actually under me, the can of
bone, ash, soft as a goosedown
pillow that bursts in bed with the lovers.
When I kissed his stone it was not enough,
when I licked it my tongue went dry a moment, I
ate his dust, I tasted my dirt host.
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (One Year by Sharon Olds )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
James Weldon Johnson
- Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Alone And Drinking Under The Moon, Li Po
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- A Visit from St. Nicholas, Clement Clarke Moore
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
Poem of the Day
- Decision, Michelle Dragonfly
- Plural Happiness, David Rivard
- Wild Love, Courage Ghandih
- To The Dead, Leong Ming Loong
- I am here and still, gajanan mishra
- chickens in the yard eating craklin brea.., Bull Hawking
- Reign of Fire, Bhaskar Rabha
- I've got a mind full of you, Bull Hawking
- Culp's Hill, John F. McCullagh
- A Rockstar Came Travelling, Richard Whiting