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"He Passed Today"
By: Meg Freeman

At ninety-five
he lived in the morning,
ate lunch with his son
and before dinner
had passed on, leaving what
little of his remains

He was the man who
smiled bare gummed and
chased me and my little
sister with his false
teeth upon request
when he asked, polite and
begging and in our best
sunday dresses
We were little twin tulips
then, bright and fresh
and green as spring
clothed in pink and yellow
and white frilled socks
and shiny black shoes
we ran to him for hugs
with squealing little girl voices
and he was a pillar
he was the sky
he was Papaw.
He would always stay,
of that we remained certain
He would no more disappear
than the sun desert it's post

I drank Kentucky bourbon whiskey
in his honor
I drank rum for my own sake

I know this of him:
He worked the coal mines
and what he brought up from the earth
fueled a terrible, wonderous, disasterous
age of change upon change
he loved his wife so much
that when all other memories faded,
he worried that she would, at 93, find
another man to come home with her
He narrowly escaped the great war,
and his children spared him conscription
but still he built the great machines
that felled a heinous tyrant

He spoke window shades as winder shades
He laughed hearty with coughing
His pants rose high on his waist
like a tall oak tree
He walked a little stooped

I don't know what if his I have
inherited or not,
besides memories
But I console myself that I have those,
because they deserted him in the end

I console myself that I contain
a place, bright with the static, unchanging
glory of childhood
where he is a hale old man
where he chases us with teeth
where he laughs and laughs
and two little tulips sit on his knees
growing in the garden
he planted all his life with us.
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