In the middle of the city
a field of carefully arranged stones
is calling out.
One stone in particular
calls to me
quietly as a whisper
of wind in short prairie grasses
or snow sloped
gently against fenceposts.
There are few of us here
tending to the stones, clearing
the snow and the dead
overgrown grasses and cold
dirt from their faces.
Even though I have memorized the place
it still takes a few tries to locate the right one.
And then it is there.
My father’s name emerging
and the dates
always surprising me
with how many years it’s been now.
The quiet of this place,
this snowy field of stones, where names and dates drift
out of memory. How many years before this is all that is left of us?
Who will visit on a winter’s day
to brush the forgetful snow from our names?
We turn away from the thought.
I say goodbye to the stone.
I promise to return.
© Mark Milner, 2018, Vancouver