Lannie Cox

Planting Dad 

I touch the tiny dash between 1930 and 1997 and try
to imagine how that can be your life.
I scratch at the dark depression
and try to change it some how;
break off a piece of granite as a souvenir,
like the coonskin cap you brought me from Eureka Springs.
You were deer hunting. Was it the only trip you took
without the family? Was that your time?
Your dash? 

What about your years
growing up in the small house with the swing on the front porch?
I visited it as a kid.
We picked pairs from the tree out back.
But that house is gone now, just like you.
It's fallen into that smudge before the last year
where you lay in bed, your dark farmers tan,
card dealers sleeves, fading under
the antiseptic florescence of the hospital lights. 

I sit down in the grass next to your marker
and let the due bleed the green on to my work pants. 

I wonder what you look like now;
it's been six months.  Has the water seeped in yet
You always had to worry about water.
I wish I would go get my shovel from the truck
and dig down to you. 
How many times could  you have dug six feet down?
I can remember us putting in rice gates,
turning up the moist brown earth and packing it in
around the curved metal.  But someone else finally
did it for you. 

I could fight the worms and bugs for you.
The way you always did,
walking along the rows of corn fingering the serrated holes
left by the hungry invisible.
Have they begun their revenge on you

But I could get to you, spray you down with Stam.
Keep them from...
But you're not growing any more, are you?
But if I know you you've worked hard at decomposing,
turning that dead matter into fertilizer. 
I can see the first leaflets breaking through the 3 X 6 mound
where they put you... Planted you.
And I want to smile.