For my grandfather
When I put you on in winter, a jacket torn at the elbows,
______I taste each honeyed brick of a hive gold-slick,
feel a buzz that echoes in the silent comb
______between my ribs where a soul should nest.
I wake at four and imagine my Northern lover a spy,
______follow your accent like a warbler into gas stations.
What biscuits rise in the ovens of the afterlife?
______What leaves burn dark blue in your sanctuary?
I cannot picture the celestial tailgate, your mother
______reciting Virgil in Latin and stroking your hair,
the heaven you believed was like your wedding
______ring, no need to polish what’s already gold
and crushing your finger at the joint. I cannot recall
______seeing you run or drink anything from a can,
but now I dream you sip coffee salted with earth
______from your county, mapping a route, avoiding
interstates. You fold the ocean into the cedar chest.
______You place an olive between the teeth
of each driver who didn’t crash into you. Your hair
______is the hustle of wings. A hummingbird prays
in your throat. The beautiful city of God is river rock
______and pepper, is green spiral steps, it shivers
with the first snow you felt behind your ears, pelts
______like a dog through a field of broken stalks.
It is the splintered fingers of your wife weaving
______a wreath of baby’s breath. Beneath your eyelids,
two Saturns, rings of husks. The cobalt hums
______a whir language and I string your neck with thoraxes,
set a silver hymn of bees on the candles. You open
______your mouth to the sting, croak “Marching to Zion.”