by Erik Wilbur
—To My Father
On the long drive back from the Carson River,
you tell me again what will happen when you die.
You say you will be cremated, and us kids will take
your ashes to the high country. There will be a spot
we’ll all know about because you’ll take us there
when you get closer—but that’s not for twenty years or so.
And I imagine you, twenty years ago, in your service truck,
driving past the freeway exit home, holding the thought
of disappearing into the Sierras, but we needed braces,
and rides to band practice, and you promised to stay up
so we could watch Aliens together. So you turned around,
and while Sigourney Weaver fought for her life from the inside
of a cargo loader, I fell asleep on the living room floor
with my head on your belly.
Tonight, as our fishing poles jangle on the backseat,
we sit silently, staring out the windshield, watching
the high-beams climb the pine trees and peel-back the highway.
And I think about how you will feel in my hands, how I will wait
for a good gust to drop you into the wind, how you will not stop.