(and their truly missing knuckles)
I have this memory, conjured from photos,
or, perhaps, real, of that day in the cemetery
when they buried Nan’s old Bin, my grandfather.
Nan’s hand, wrinkled like a washed sheet,
the third finger missing to the first knuckle, rests
heavily upon the casket as she waits
for the twin green straps (slow as a lizard’s blue tongue
tasting air) to be withdrawn, lowering, therefore, the casket
and within, the still body of Nan’s beloved Bin.
I can hear her thoughts in my mind (the years, a funnel
expressing the hidden moments we miss at the time) - How to explain,
with faded, crisp leaves rustling words along
the cracked and pitted path and bunched-up cars
humming eager to repel the day,
to the grandchildren lost in phones and fancies
that inside the casket,
his right hand, wrinkled, too, a matching washed sheet,
has the third finger missing to the same first knuckle?
How to explain, she thinks, I think, that she misses that missing finger
as much as anything can be missed
that is no longer there?
How to explain that being alone matters
because what is gone never leaves?