Our Dead Fathers

Fathers seldom die in their own bed.
They slip in the tub, choke on a machine
in bloodless ways you never imagined
or hoped or feared.

Neither a blessing nor curse,
just a life cut short or one lived too long.

The blood they no longer need
is drained to a pail.
Arms that held babies
and worked all their lives
hauling a thousand bundles,
and mending unfixable things
are folded together
in uneasy prayer,
their bruises
visible to all.