Summer

When the time comes to leave, I will miss the cranes. They seem so unselfconscious and satisfied, a combination that sounds like jubilance.

I will not miss the wood ticks, the way they crawl and cling. The tick that annoys most is the one that isn’t there, because you feel her on you everywhere at once.

A Poem for Tracy K. Smith

  What does the storm set free?
        Spirits stripped of flesh on their slow walk.
— “The Speed of Belief,” from Life on Mars, by Tracy K. Smith

So we both lost our fathers,
your Floyd William Smith, 1935-2008
and my Richard Alan Sharp, 1936-2007,
both engineers, yours worked on the Hubble
and mine on the fuel cell for Gemini in the 60s.
You think of the soul wandering, a man
without country, spinning,  perhaps to touch
down on Earth again, through you,
while I imagine the soul, or something
like one, fueling a distant star cluster
with a power that could only be love.
And so I am left to look at you, wide-eyed
with hair exploding like a supernova,
and believe I see him there, too,
in your smile, seeing through your eyes,
your father who looked to the stars,
toward my father, burning in the night.