by Mike Saye
The day my father was buried,
the starlings worked the Kroger parking lot,
cocking their homely heads at comic angles
to scope the trash-fall for Jelly Bellies,
sipped Dr. Pepper from a puddle.
Ecstatic mirages rose up from the asphalt
and gyrated in place like drunken hula-hoopists.
The wind floated heat and dust
over the grass in elegant long rust-red ribbons
that made us squint at the preacher.
None of this changed the way I cast
my palmful of grave dirt,
making the same motion he taught me to use
when throwing layingash out to the hens
or sowing grass for the house he built.
There was, at least, the scrub maple
by his plot: slinky, crooked as lightning,
bark stripped off one side,
tonsured with a crown of fire-red leaves.
Mike Saye is a Ph.D student at Georgia State University. His work has been published in Rattle, Town Creek Poetry, and The Coal Hill Review, among other places.