Cathedrals rise over cobblestone towns.
Because this life is brief we learn to write
our names in granite. There is elegy
because this life is brief. We make stories
from patterns we come across in the stars
but the dead don’t see the stars or feel
the rain, and if space is really expanding
infinitely, then this life grows shorter
with every shudder of the skies above.
Because this life is brief and winter sleeps
in our bones, we stretch every summer day
past the slip of darkness, to the silence
when even the crickets call it a night
and the moon slides behind the empty mills
as we wait, watching for stars to come down.
Because even the stars will one day fail.
A man who understands his life is brief
rides elevators all the way up to see
the streets of his home like never before,
or maybe takes the stairs and stops at every
floor to speak with every perfect stranger.
But if my father could write a poem from
wherever the dead find themselves after
they die, I imagine he’d write a poem
that says to stay outside and wait for rain,
to watch how every drop holds light, to hear
the hiss when it kisses the summer street.
BRIAN SIMONEAU is the author of River Bound (C&R Press, 2014), which won the 2013 De Novo Prize. His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Cave Wall, Crab Orchard Review, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, The Normal School, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals. He grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, and now lives in Connecticut with his wife and two daughters.