I arrive with a playlist, a send off
of songs, mostly Motown. You always loved
The Temptations best. I had picked the last
of the blackberries, saw the boats hunker down
at Degnen Bay and the gray leaves dent air.
There were patches of purple vetch creeping
up your legs and an unsung requiem
lingering between us. They say hearing
is the last to go. I want you to know
I was listening. I begin the countdown
with Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, and then play
The Way You Do the Things You Do, followed
by that song you left on my answering
machine when I was still your little girl.
I hear you gulp back swigs of desert air
as if it were mouthfuls of cold water;
a dying thirst. I leave when the music
fades. The blackberry brambles are bone-dry.
The pears are ready to fall. Back at home
I belt out: Papa Was a Rolling Stone,
a last eulogy that embalms me whole.
P.C. Vandall is the author of three collections of poetry: Something from Nothing (Writing Knights Press), Woodwinds (Lipstick Press) and Matrimonial Cake (Red Dashboard). Her next book of poetry is forthcoming from Oolichan Books. She lives on Gabriola Island with her husband and 2 children.