In one hand a cup of weak tea, steaming

A rather ugly cup at that, rough edge

Formidably bent, height, just about right

To deliver a scythe of advice, speaking

As if words smelled of empty churches.

So you’re home, he says, devious eye, half-smile

Half-wrath; portrait of him so distant, playful

Hens, sheep, pigs, pig manure. All is there.

In a cracked voice dragged through time like a coat too large

Communist-catholic, devout, cursing god

All is there, in his voice. At times it could smite

With a might you would, in fact expect

From someone who’s been through an

Attempted assassination of the president

Yet he stood guard, blind to history’s sandpaper

Grin. Still, in a weary way, his dumb intelligence

Or frighteningly accurate sarcasm did

Inspire an incipient thought. Just that. It is a shame, though,

That it rarely emerged from a rather poorly

Kept hygiene, at arm’s length, so as not to

Erase the peasant, withered hands

So often wrung over his daughters’ cigarettes

And politics. Or, for example, a drying mind of one’s own.

An unlikely unwilling role model

Just a retired soldier, farmer, lover;

Now, a retired life. Since three years

Ago. Necessary regret at not being

Somehow more with him, only deaf contemplation

Cast at the marble slab that inherits his name.