Three Who Came Before
My Father passed when I was ten
In my memory, only bits.
Tobacco pouch, machinist tools
Bicycle, shaving kit
Cacti, gourds, grapefruit tree
Puppy, fishing trip.
Supported us, his family
Long nights, graveyard shift.
He rose one day to heat some milk
His heart stopped there and then.
My Brother passed at forty-five
I barely knew his face.
He fled when I was just a child
To run a different race.
A faster life in Hollywood
Boozing, fights, police
Jail cells, sleeping on the floor
No home on his release.
Fled again to Hawaiian sands
Cancer, throat, he died.
My Mother passed not long ago
At the age of eighty five
She lived alone after Father passed
She’d be no other’s wife.
Laughter bright, smile of cheer
She weathered this life’s grief.
She cheated death more than once
On the strength of her belief.
Though many seasons we knew life
It all seems now so brief.
Cancer claimed her life at last
She lies with dad under snow.
And as I walk the Sacred Grove
These Three walk with me.
And when I call my Ancestor kin
It’s these Three that I see.
And others too in countless rows
From endless ages past
Father, Mother, Brother dear!
Grandfathers back countless years!
Oh Shining Ones and Spirits near
To you I raise my glass!