His DNA is in the creases,
in flecks of skin that fell.
Open the pages and feel a life
that once was here. Tell
me his dreams, crooked symbols
marking fading paper we've both seen--
whisper stories of past and present
and futures where our minds have been.
My cells blend with his,
my finger turns the page,
waiting for another generation
to join us in imagination.
I recently got home from a several-week trip to Missouri, where I helped Mom settle into a retirement community. There, she has a beautiful back yard, but one that she isn't responsible for maintaining. Dad died in 2008 and Mom was finally ready to sell the last home they bought together. This one is her house, and I wanted to help her unpack, to lend my love and support to this huge endeavor. May she be happy in her new place.
During the unpacking, we came across a couple of boxes of old books, vintage books. One of the rare things that Dad and I had in common was a love of books. I'm grateful that he had kept these boxed books during the past five decades as he and Mom moved around the country and stored them while they were overseas. A few were familiar, like 1955 copies of Black Beauty and Heidi, those were Mom's, and even the worn Camp Fire Girls Go Motoring published in 1916 by Hildegard G. Frey. I remembered reading those. The unfamiliar in the thirty or so dusty volumes included an 1888 copy of Tom Temple's Career that I cannot imagine reading, and a 1906 edition of Jack London's The Sea-Wolf that I'm looking forward to reading. I'm researching how to keep several dozen of these books from deteriorating further; they aren't of monetary value, rather they are priceless. Mom agreed that both of my brothers would approve of me becoming the Keeper of the Books. So I am. I'm taking it seriously. Until the day that a niece or nephew, or one of their children, might express a devotion to books and ask to be the Keeper.
The dogwoods and redbuds were in full glorious bloom during my visit, a beautifully cool, moist spring. I was born two hours south of where Mom now lives, and when I drive through the Ozarks I smile at the memories.