“That Evening” by Ken Hada

that evening

after the service
after the casket

was lowered into red dirt
dirt which he had plowed
and planted

I sat with her
in the house

a house that would never be
the same, the house of grandkids
and trophies from prize quilts
and blue-ribbon jams from
county fairs

and she spoke some
and I spoke some

I was not yet eighteen
He was sixty five

so my thoughts
too few memories

the shotgun he bought for me
at auction, catching a big bass
on his cane pole, sitting on his lap
at sunrise, hearing growls about
harvest and calves, hay, tractors
and fences

now it would all change
we both knew that

as we sat holding our differing
grief, it would all change

some for the better
but not all

sundown and death — too obvious
to construct — that first night
was hard, but she was hard too

and she teaches me
to live on

for thirty more years (and counting)
that evening still alive in me —
a lesson in grief

believe it, bear it
bury it

“That Evening” by Ken Hada, from Spare Parts. © Mongrel Empire Press, 2010.