Something far off

Dad

“Du schnell vergehendes Daguerreotyp
in meiner langsemer vergehenden Händen.”
— Rilke

In my cold-burning
fingers so gradually becoming ash,
he smiles like a sated starveling,
regarding his youngest sister
and her lens;
this last
posed visage with eyes still
sparked with something far off;

with as yet no inkling
of the greedy orange
already behind his viewpoint,
even now borrowing from the branch
until the tree itself would rot.

Still, and always, spanning
the distance of adopted cities,
the provincial perimeters,
the added families by marriage
and by babies; the mortgages
of love and work; the supple rivalries
and chosen stories holding,
sooner-or- later, some
far off ending.

Something far off, surely:
those known yet distant endings already
elongated by partnership with
a loveable ever-late and a wearer of
bowties no less endearing
or enigmatic for coming undone;
stalwart unions to a still-young
bushel of no less than nine
and, eventually, a still-younger
crop of seventeen unseen,
alas,
by these adoring pictured eyes still

focusing on that never-inevitable bridge
over time and place;
over bloodline love
and feigned indifference.
A sooner end.
And now, a later one:
A different distance joining
generations now peering bleary
through the eyes of this photograph
and this photographer.

[for Roslyn and Fraser]
Montreal, 2016

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