For C. Winn Canfield

What Remains

I became


Of your foray in a hospital bed

in Culpeper


Did you have an inkling

or did you just see the end


no eye yet for my tool,


that prophetic backward telescope


or did you

feel a slight breeze

a hint and a whiff of something off,

the pure smell of dread


you could not be there

to do the most important thing

to buck the chins

of your daughters up

way up


to not let them ever settle


and despite time’s shedding

and life helping out with her fine-toothed comb

removing all traces of you


your end



what remains

a granddaughter you never met

mourning your death fifty-two years hence

wishing she could change

that hospital day


a change that would surely

have blotted out her existence