August 3 marks eight years since my father died. These are the words that found me as I stack up the stones once again.


the name was used
when you gave it to me
accompanied by a number
I was the third though
we were only two
and you already knew
the grief of a dead father
who died at fifty-seven

I was almost his age
when you died
and I have counted
the years since from
the day of your death
first you then mom
your absence a presence
and the name lives on

you told the stories
of your life like a gospel writer
leaving out the details
and I still have questions
I can answer only with
imagination and compassion
somehow it seems
I’m still getting to know you

and what it means to live
into the name you gave me
though I changed it
much to your chagrin
the distance we lived with
seems small compared to death
except sometimes when
you catch me by surprise

these last eight years are full
of arguments we didn’t have
or phone calls to talk about
food and sports and weather
I keep telling your old jokes
and retelling stories
but I’m the only one to turn
when someone says Milton



  1. Thanks for this, Milton. I feel like I’m still getting to know my dad too. I think of him all the time. Ask him questions, solve mysteries, wonder. It’s only been 4-1/2 mos.

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