What does it mean to die? Aren asks
What do you think it means? I ask.
It means you finally grow up, he says,
and I think of my farmer grandfather, how first
his hands shook, then his feet shuffled,
and how he erupted with stories when anyone
walked into the room, desperate to get the words
out of his mind and into another’s, the fog
closing in by inches he measured in minutes,
not hours. I think of how, on that last day,
he stared at me, wild-eyed, when I
held up my baby son, how the old man could not speak,
how I was the only one in the room who could
fill it with words, so I did, caressing his hand
until the baby began to fuss, how I left that room
knowing I would never see him in body again. To die,
to end – is that to grow up, to rise toward the sun
with arms stretched out like a sunflower nodding
its way West, grow like the bean vine climbing until
it stretches beyond the top of the fence like a finger
pointing toward what it wishes for, what it needs
Read more of Kris Bigalk’s poetry.
Interested in submitting poetry to The Good Men Project? Check out our guidelines.
Photo by Stefano Corso/Flickr