Somehow I miss the day they passout compasses, the secret passports, special visas to where everybody’shappy, healthy, jogging on clouds.
Can’t count how many times I hearyou’re in a better place. Othersmust be getting postcards I don’t get. I comb the atlases and maps,
spin the globe and still. They saynothing special’s needed to bringwith you when you go. No carry-on, no phone to snap a selfie with an angel
or with God. What should I do with all these cards & flowers, guide books to that latitudeand longitude I still can’t find?
Some say there’s a tunnel one can’tresist, where those who’ve gone before wait to greet you at the other end, even your childhood dog panting
and wagging its stubby tail. I should take comfort you’re in sweethands, that all our loved ones who werehere, but now exist in Better Place,
are taking care of you in waysI never could. Tell me, though, do they have picnics there or choppy wavesto bounce our boat, flip us, sink
us, bone-soaked in love again?
Swollen boats, my father’s hands
darken all fall. Still he lifts one
over the hospital bed’s metal
rails when I stop to see him.
More fluid than bone, his fingers
hoist mine in a tangle of confused
masts. He no longer tries to come
about. I stroke his head, bruised
from bumping up against the end
of his life, in a slip that is not his
slip, in unfolding bedsheet sails,
and no wind yet for the crossing.
In the back of the closet
my father’s shoes sleep,
their creased tongues,
I should have given
them away by now,
but somehow when I see
his long toes disappear
in heavy sand,
then his legs, torso,
head and shining
scalp, they’re what
I have to walk him
back to me.
Christina Daub’s work can be found in several literary journals and anthologies. She also translates poetry from Spanish & German into English. She has taught poetry & creative writing at various schools, including George Washington University and co-founded The Plum Review. You can find her at christinadaub.com