(in memory of my uncle, George Zandt,
dedicated in love to my father)

the pregnant river swelled up
to meet the rain and wind and thunder
and she lumbered along anyways
after the worst was over
our family members fell into
place like patches on a quilt
or spindles on a web, and caught
each other when we fell too far
and mourned the loss
of one of our own.
that night venus bore her
bright soul to me through
the leaves of the tree
we weren’t supposed to climb
as kids but did anyways.
life moved on through stuffing
dinners that friends brought
in an age-old ritual of showing sympathy.
we laughed, got quiet, asked
for more ham, laughed some
more to cover the distance
between us and those not present.
to each his own way of mourning,
said venus to me,
and don’t forget to look for
beauty and peace between the leaves.
work will wait another day,
for now a game of cribbage
with my Pop is all i need.