Braid Him Into the Earth
Knee-high coffin of wicker, earth-boat floating through the woods.
Wrap him in heather, the old way. Hold a pocket mirror under his nose.
Say of him what we say of fathers.
If one of you has a three-string, then a tune.
Boots, stamp away spirits. If the ground is frozen,
dig shallow, spade ringing through ice, shale, mica-shine.
Lower the basket in a tangle of ginseng root, because I can’t.
Let well water seep into crevices, mineral, like nickels
on the tongue. Skin freckling in feldspar, beetle, slug.
If flood waters drift the body loose, let him not be found by a child.
Let bones wash up with clay pipes, beads, thumb-size skulls.
Let them whiten and scatter in blond fields.