"Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think."
-Michel de Montaigne

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Memorium

For my father, Lance Bradley Alcosiba. December 25, 1963-August 20, 2009.
Together always, at Bay Farm Island Bridge


It’s been a year since you left, and I heard
the earth crack open, swallowing you whole;
and though I knew, though I’d been given a schedule

of your departure, an express at noon—
I never knew how hard it would be to witness
the cars pull away, and me behind the caboose
to catch it, jump onboard before it was gone.
The steam beneath the wheels left me breathless, unable,
collapsing on the tracks.

But sometimes I lean my ears to the rails,
and I can feel the hum of an engine
chugging far away, speeding along the coast:
the dining car warm with brewing coffee and
shuffling newspapers or steadied crosswords
on the laps of bi-focaled women, and children stare
from windows, coloring vermillion
sunsets over smashing waves—
and I am happy.

for One Shot Wednesday


  1. Great imagery and story telling. Loved it. The metaphor of a train and journeying away. We never want our loved ones to go. Thank you for posting. Lovely. Gay

  2. Thanks so much! This poem means a lot to me, especially this week. Hopefully you have something up for One Shot Wed. that I can check out?

  3. beautiful...the running behind the car is such a great metaphor...and love the end where the tone changes a bit as you describe the passengers and the train...glad you hooked up with oneshot this week! welcome...

  4. Excellent post! Best of the OSW I have read so far this week. Strong images, real emotion and a great metaphor. Well done you!

  5. This is lovely. I'm so glad you brought it to One Shot for all of us to share.

  6. The last stanza is so hopeful. What a great turn.

    And you used the word vermillion. That makes me think of Hopkins. :)

  7. Beautiful imagery. I love the idea of listening to the tracks, but the part about running after the caboose was the most poignant.

  8. The beginning stanza is striking: the idea of the earth swallowing life, parallels the process of mourning the death of a loved one. Thanks for joining us for One Shot Wenesday. cheers!

  9. I'm sorry for the loss of your father.

    The poem just sings of loss and acceptance.

  10. this was absolutely beautiful..a fantastic poem yet so very personal and sad...i think the comments above are ones you should be proud of..thanks for sharing with One shot..pete

  11. Thanks everyone for such a warm reception, I've never posted any of my poems online before. Looking forward to next Wednesday!

  12. this especially... "sometimes I lean my ears to the rails"

    oh, the distant tremble of memory colliding with present longing