A FATHER DIES

Everyone’s father dies,
snow melts in February
sometimes and the robin
comes home.

We are left with place names
we have not been. Stories, too,
we will no longer hear, poems,
essays, enriched language and paths.

You can see the space between the rooms,
stray hair curled and gray,
folded manuscripts in Yiddish
under an old oak chest.

In a dream a father turns to you,
smiling, his arms opening, opening,
opening, and when you wake,
you are no longer crying.