Who am I when you fade,
When I awaken to the trick played by my subconscious,
That keeps you the same as I age,
At the bottom of the dark stairwell, in the basement,
With the irrepressible smile,
That carries on like an Eveready battery?
This morning weeps white polka dots on yellow spring flowers, too early.
Playful as you, when you danced through the house and we shook our heads,
Pretending to be adults, but relieved there was someone
With graying sideburns and twinkling eyes whooping at a home run
On the black and white television that may never have been,
Though I remember you as my old movie, the one I can nestle in
When the cynicism of our time corrodes my hope.
They tried to kill you at Omaha Beach.
The thin line between life and death dimmed
When the submarines threatened to feed you to the sharks,
And you waded in with the tide, ran up the dense, grey sand,
Until they shot your friends and thought they stopped you from running,
Leaving you with the heart scar you turned into your last painting
On a whiteboard when you could not speak, and the power of your joy triumphed.
On the passing of Uncle Mike.