In the end, all the darkness had gathered
around the loved old man's hospital bed
and we comforted
the aging chaplain as best we could
when he said:
Go together in your grief,
miss a day & you miss a lot,
you sorta loved your old grandpa
didn't you? Asked my boy if he had
ever lost a pet, rehashed
a small-town fish fry at length
us to one another
as if we were strangers.
Maybe. But we got him through it,
not knowing then that 6 months before his wife
had packed the car and left without a word.
Outside a dawn storm pulled over,
all truly crashing thunder and lightning strikes
on the trees around the river.
Later at home, this year's crop of cardinals,
so oddly all females,
angling against the new light, raised a calling
from a muted bunch of fresh, fine, brown hopeful