Working men wear orange shirts
above ground to avoid death
while late-late drivers burn past signs,
that read, “SLOW DOWN,
my dad works here.”
But my dad was a dim, orange glow
at the bottom of a manhole.
No one saw him clipped
by death, a sort of driver, too,
who doesn’t read and doesn’t slow down.
No, when hit, my dad’s diabetic heart
gave like a contracting guardrail,
beating frantic, at first,
against its walls, then stopping
before his final breath.
Thinking of him now,
I wonder if a spirit is a thing at all.
If it is, did my dad’s beat
against the street’s underside
like his short-circuit heart, trying
to find a way out
of his tightening chest?
Or did his spirit see the circle
of sunlight above
and dive into heaven’s well
and all was well?
I imagine he saw
with his last sight, the circle
of his father’s death curving
into his own—that he imagined
the absurdity of that orange shirt.