dad,
i went to your cousin joel’s funeral
back in 2012
as you’d been dead too long
to make an appearance
even by the standards of kentucky time

my determination to attend
pointed
because he loved you
you loved him
and where i was concerned
he had always been so kind

he sat with his hand on my back
as i little girl cried
for hours at the visitation
after you died

he looked like you
in life
and in the coffin

he was more content though
having checked out at the proper time

stricken
never having seen so many people
gathered
who had your eyes

no one recognized me
because this is a family
to whom i’m 30 years
lost

look, i’m only bringing it up
because today is your 74th birthday
i always write a poem on your birthday
have you noticed?
some are sentimental
some black enough to swallow stars

have you considered
you’d just now be coming
to life expectancy?

this was your time

i believed as a child
that we would be reunited in heaven
it kept me living those first years post demise

then the bible taught me you probably went to hell

until i reached the age of reason
and discovered both destinations
are man made creations

you were lost for all time

it’s for the best, really
as i think instead of running
into your white robed heavenly arms

i would cuss you in front of a choir of angels
for not loving your children enough
to stay alive

well within my right

after all
we’re pulaski county wesleys
even in the afterlife