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Dear Grandpa

Thank you for your life
for being
Without you, none of us would be

Thank you for the green
fishing rods
perfectly child-sized

For fishing in a river
                     in a valley
under a wide, wide sky
Thank you for humoring us
with Tor's one tiny catch
fried just right that night

Thank you for bringing the rugged country to us
and us to it
we fed your horses with hay by hand
and rode in a pick-up truck
rode horse-back
and loved your big dogs
walking with them
like they were ours

Thank you for the many cats
who came to our home from yours

Thank you for regaling us with stories
for talking about science
for trying to be a figure
of something
you may or may not have been

No matter.

I am astonished by the layers of memory
rising to meet your death
such tender memories
for you who I met, each time, new
many visits, enough in number
to make closeness

and yet
and yet

Never closeness.

If there is an afterlife
I wish for you
and tenderness
and ease

If there is a god
may she welcome you
with open arms

If we are all a river of life
                              which includes death
you are still rippling
with us
and through us