Forgive us if we find it hard to imagine
that final country for which you’ve departed
except in terms of the one you left many years ago.
We want to think of heaven as a small village
where the houses stand close to each other,
where neighbors know each other by name
and by the names of their kin before them;
where the church and town square and fields
are quiet from holding their place, and the doves
come to shelter in the shadows at noon. The first
time you left, young in your prime to make your fortune,
the way was lit like windows looking out on a procession.
We followed in your wake, as we do again now.
At the end we watched you go, briefer than a wisp
of smoke, wordless as snow against the city skyline.
And this was how you taught us to grow—
A young man plucks a fruit, holds it in his hands
and offers it simply, as he would his heart. Nothing
in the world stands between your heart and this gift.
Nothing in the world tarnishes its sweetness or its gold.