Gathered to His Fathers

by Bonnie Beldan-Thomson

When I turn the corner to Neustadt
I almost see my father
lying motionless.
Pale green sheet reflects spring
grain and grass. Tubes
in place, silent now as fields
deep in snow.

He was gasping, shoulders heaving
the day my brother brought his saxophone.
While oxygen bubbled its curtain of white sound
the spiral of mellow tone revolved,
as if under soft lights
of a birthing room.

I think it was the night before he died
(though hours and days ran together—
water colours with no time to dry)
while nurses turned him we walked
under dark skylights, read a poem
about someone’s mother, saw shadow people
waiting their turn to have him.

My grandfather died young,
never saw his boy grow up.
While we walked then
I remembered the old words
“gathered to his fathers.”

My father. Gathered.

Bonnie is a musician and teacher who lives near Toronto, Canada.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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