THE DAY MY FATHER DIED

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The day my father died
I could not cry;
My mother cried,
Not I.

His face on the pillow in the dim light

Wrote mourning to me,
Black and white.

We saw him struggle,
Stiffen, relax;
The face fell empty,
Dead as wax.

I’d read of death
But never seen.
My father’s face, I swear,
Was not serene.

Topple that lie
However appealing;
That face was absence

Of all feeling.

My mother’s tears were my tears,
Each sob shook me:
The pain of death is living,
The dead are free.

For me my father’s death
Was not her sorrow;
That day was her day,
Loss was tomorrow.