My father died 62 years ago yesterday and now
it is time to admit his dying. While grieving
his early death, I turn to mother, now dead
30 years and still unable to discuss it.
I stand in their cemetery. Buried here are pets,
humans, grave resentments, mortifying secrets,
apologies never made and grand plans unrealized.
So, let’s do this right. Call the bugler to play taps,
the piper a sorrowful tune. Let this music travel
over these stone markers, the flowers placed here and there,
around and over my head bowed for benediction
and out into the softening light of this dying day.
Jerry Jernigan lives with his wife and dog in Charlotte, N.C. where he has spent most of his life practicing law. His undergraduate and law degrees are from Duke University. In addition to writing and reading poetry, he enjoys singing, traveling and visits with his two grown sons and his daughter-in-law.