At the Moving Wall

You said you came
to the Moving Wall
to see your father
with no gift,
just yourself, and
that wasn’t enough,
just his flesh and blood
having never been held
by his eyes, or his hands
even,
he wanted you named
after his best friend
second-hand, second-guessed;
yet
you carry
him under your skin,
his bones slide with yours,
maybe your laugh is his
laugh, or your teeth,
or your love of the open sky
over granite outcroppings;
you came to him, today,
with no offering,
so
reached up and pulled off
a tulip tree flower --
pale-green banded orange
blossoms full of ripe pollen
promise,
floating like surprising
water lilies in the shallows
of light yearning leaves,
and you stood before his name
and thought yourself --
alone --
not enough
for this dead soldier,
this dead father.

Constance Lee Menefee
Copyright 2000