In Memoriam - J.W. Taylor, died May 23, 2006

In Memoriam - My PePa, J.W. Taylor

You've lived in the past for years now.
Family would try and invite you into the moment -
Here, have another piece of pie. How about some coffee?
You would eat their food and drink their drink, small concessions to calm their fears.
They were afraid they had lost you to another time and so they did what people do when they don't know what to do - eat.
They couldn't see you. But I felt I could. You entire body was a window.
When I would look into your eyes, I would see men at work in the sawmill -
men closer than brothers chewing tobacco and sweating out chambray shirts with grizzled chins.
Your hair-ridden ears perked for the squeak of a porchswing and the intoxicating hum of the cicadas .
The tanned nose longing for the whiff of the green of tomato plants striving for the sunlight as you tended and watered,
and then harvested like no one else in town.
And your small, but vise-like hands lighting firecrackers in the yard as children squealed on the fourth of July.
Yes, you'd been living in the past for years now.
And then your heart stopped. Was the longing for days-gone-by too much?
Did you cry in the early morning hours when no one knew with a grief that just became more than you could bear?
They didn't talk much about you at the funeral. They talked about themselves quite a bit.
There were flowers and singing - like you'd expect.
But I saw you there in that casket.
Strapped into a pin-striped suit God doesn't give a damn about.
And then I noticed your wristwatch. And it was running.
Even at the end, they tried to keep you bound in time.
But you left. Where'd you go?
I hope to the place of your heart's desire.
A place where children and cicadas and tobacco and tomatoes fill your days and nights.
A place where she is, she who went before you did. A place of warm.
I placed my hand on your forehead before they closed the lid.
You were as cold as ice. You were not there. You'd been cold for years now.

1 comment:

  1. John, when you speak of the men in your family as you did in this post, or "The Prodigal Father", it speaks powerfully to me.