I Don't Think You'd Mind, Charles


to Charles E. "Bud" Henderson

The fact that you’re not alive anymore
occurs to me like the intermittent snarl
of your neighbor’s chainsaw all day today
while I sit in one of your plastic chairs
smoking a cigar as we would together
in an alcove of ferns and rocks, young maples and pines
above your terraced wildflower gardens
behind which in the woods an hour ago
I walked and scared four grouse into low flight
and I swear I heard the huuh huuh huuh huuh
of a black bear that sent me into low flight
back here. 

                                     Inside, Kay misses you and speaks
of you often, sometimes as if you were still
with her, yet she is happy without you
content to live alone in the wilderness,
and she doesn’t want to spread your ashes
in the flowerbed where you wanted, either
not until it’s thoroughly weeded, or
she might spread them in a prettier one
that’s just a few yards away. 

                                                          Since your death, she has
had to put Maddie to sleep, and old Lumpy
has lost the use of his hind legs, and it’s hard
because he liked to roam the mountainside
but now he needs to be dragged and lifted just
to pee, and the answer everyone thinks of,
to put his back end into a little carriage,
probably won’t get done before he’s too
much trouble, and it’s hard because he’s happy.

The Sweet Williams and pale blue Forget-me-nots
you planted continue to reseed on
your old green mountain, as it continues
to break apart so senselessly slowly
into pieces marked only by the breaking.