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.