Science in Death

My father was a physicist.
“Once you’re dead, you’re dead.”
He died three years ago, with a DNR.
For all his failings, he was my father,
I tried to override those sacrosanct last wishes.

Unforgivable perhaps,
But understandable.
I had watched E.R.
Where was the crash cart?
Where were the beautiful people with tears in their eyes?
The tears were left to me,
The considerate, but busy staff went about their work.
The tears flooded down my face, for someone I had loved,
In all their imperfections and annoyances.

The tears remain,
Three years it’s been.
And though I am not answered with a curt “come,”
When I knock upon the door.
Still there’s a presence always with me,
And in my dreams.

What has he found there?
What wonders to perplex a scientific mind?
He may well be dead,
But is certainly not gone.
The restless spirit that was his core,
Now wanders in my yard,
And in my dreams.

I should make some tidy patch,
All straight lines and grids,
Somewhere in my overgrown yard,
And in my head.

A tidy well-laid garden,
To soothe a scientific mind,
who has surely found,
There is more to death
Than dying.

The saying that you live on,
In someone else’s heart,
Has proven,
As all good theories do,
To be absolutely true.


A poem skittered in my mind,
This morning, or was it yesterday?
It clicked me out of my somnolence,
For a moment, fully formed.
Only to wither,
In the daylight.
Too weak to withstand
The confused Tempest in my mind.
While I, readjust, recommence, repair,
From under the hood, under the gaze,
Tied in the comfortable chains,
Sunk in the soft pillows,
Of my medication.
Where feelings melt,
Like that ‘cake in the rain,’
Or chocolate in the sun,
Runny, harmless,
Slipping off the strange armour of absence.
For awhile, it’s a relief to feel this—nothing.
Then it’s odd, like walking in someone else’s dream,
Or underwater.
Then, it’s like you’re not even inhabiting your own life.
Joy, so boundless in the crazy days,
Is flattened, planed.
And, despair, is still there,
too hidden to contemplate.