Her Father's Grave

By Philip C. Kolin - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA - 1 March 2017



Being the oldest of the orphans,

it was given to her to toss

the first shovel of dirt

on her father's open grave.

She could almost hear him

scratching at his pine prison

as they lowered him

into the cold clay earth.

She prayed he would recover

from the keening at the wake house,

freshly shaven and smiling

once again breathing the morning air.

Then she would race back home

and return with the left-over

tea cakes to slake his hunger

and a pint to ease his crowded bones

and hug him until

his sickly purple bow turned

bright green, the color of the sod

once  his early grave was backfilled.

But she stood stark

as a limestone marker

when she heard other shovels of dirt

sealing his grave, one right after

the other, shattering  the mirror

she had hidden in her coat pocket.