For C. Winn Canfield

What Remains

I became

Because

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,

retrospect

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

ensured

 

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