What had he saved, at the close
of his life, that he might have left
as a bequest? We found out only
after his death: despite his long
career in law, how scrupulous, how
fraught with superstition the lengths
he went to avoid the writing of a will,
or such grave considerations of the end:
a bank account his widow had no real
knowledge of, with one last retirement
deposit; the neat and mostly unused
stack of blank checks (he favored cash)
tucked in a corner of the sock drawer.
Somehow I can’t remember more
than the questions that now come
out of that time. They crowd upon
the present, which today seems
cloudless and untrammelled, clear
blue shot through with loose coins
of sunshine though winter’s breath
suspends its shadow from every branch.
If you can’t take it with you, what is
this lifetime of working and making do,
of putting others’ needs before your own;
and nights of sleepless worry, counting
the days from one paycheck to the next?
The clock in the hallway whirrs
and hidden levers scroll the hands
across its ivory face. Its music
is also a counting-out, a measuring
of the remaining distances between
the ache of all that wants so much
to be fulfilled, to be disbursed.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.