My father carries a basket of fire
to the cemetery, wants to visit
his first wife, mother, daughter.
He spreads vibrant plastic flames
in three dead-grass areas, different headstones
Lately he is tired
not inclined to visiting those alive
keeps a sack of cemetery flowers
under his bed, his own personal stock
of grief, red and white flowers
for summer visits, yellow and pink for spring.
He worries about what he will wear
when buried, wants to go to the big city
to buy a new suit,
not sure if it will be black
or deep blue with discreet stripes.
I tell him he should worry
more about living,
remember how he taught his own mother
at ninety-two to reach far
as if she were picking apples
or grabbing stars
from the sky.