Robert Bruce Gilmer 1969 - 1971
SINCE HE LAY HIMSELF DOWN
We take all but a mile or so by train
walking six blocks to the station on
one of our hand-in-hand days.
Sun and clouds, a few sprinkly drops
talking about a shower coming on
wondering if the rain this spring
will ever quit, something to mumble about on a lazy Easter Sunday.
Underground, the train rolls to a
stop, nine cars to the airport, full
of travelers and luggage,
two seats together facing backwards.
Talk about last night, seventeen
for dinner, gumbo with crab, sweet
potato pie, laugh about sleeping in
‘til nearly noon, encouraged by
Lao Tzu: “…non-action is achieved.”
Get off with three or four others
at Colma, follow the crowd onto the
elevator, walk a mile to the cemetery,
buy a few flowers, carnations and a
spiky white thing.
Mausoleum open 8am to 6pm on
Sundays, enter the west door, walk
steadily among the dead, several
entombed on either side since the 1920’s.
Our toddler’s remains are on the east end,
in an open court, gone to ashes when he was two,
thirty six years ago, lay himself down in your arms
with leukemia when he was two.
For nearly twenty years you did not
visit his grave, simply could not go near
where he lay, but now it’s ok to drop by
several times a year, talk to him.
Tell him his sisters and brother are doing
alright, (of course he already knows that)
and thank him for all the help, that you don’t
know how we’d make it without him
looking out for us.
Often fail to mention that he has been in your
thoughts every day since before he was born,
since he lay himself down against your breast
and stopped living.
You don’t have to tell him
what he already knows.