Before he died my father's memory
floated away from him like flotsam on the tide.
My last visit we sat on lawn chairs at the back of the house
that Dad called the front
and breathed the brine of river's swell,
studied the herons spearing pikes among the cattails, tasted
not quite the catch stacked in the crabber's dingy
looping trotlines offshore—
and Dad turned to me and begged,
Take me home, I want to go home.
I told him here was home, and he cried out,
No, the home where Mother is,
Now four of us, all but one,
gather to bury Dad's ashes
here at the back of the house, the front,
and ponder our missing one,
who ranted rage against our father,
emptied from the bag of ash
one fifth's amount,
swore to bury it
a good stone's throw away.