Abandoned farmhouse,
graying outbuildings.
In your final winter, you stood
with empty, cracking branches
to tell us plain
that your kind shade would be gone –

My father, too, would warn us so
in his gruffled, dying voice
to give us time to account,
to record, to not be frightened.

Empty sky.

Time unwinds.
I see you bud up from soil
in a crowded prairie before
this town, this house,
my people.

I bend here on your stump
shaved to the ground.
Our kinship remains.
Deeper need –
a certain kind of new breath.

We vine together.
You remind me, I thank you.
You hold me, I bless you.
You become me, I become you.

Time and life give perspective anew, and this poem changed as a result. Four years ago almost to the day.