another type of memorial day

never held my father’s hand,
we had instead to keep up;
and fall that year was all
that eight years old could fathom

he was our uncle, my father’s friend,
gone overnight, and we all
were there, on the trip he, too,
was supposed to have been on

asking about changes, and why,
my father said: the end of change
is the end of life –
to which
my mom said don’t scare the boy —

but scared was not the issue,
prematurely graying in the mind
was the problem, even at
eight years of age

my brother skipping rocks
marked the solemnity of the
occasion, and my sister’s
humming a song from Hair

let the sunshine in,
let the sunshine in,
let the sunshine in,
the sun
shine in

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