Last Respects

They came to pay their last respects,
those boyhood friends,
the men who’d grown up by his side.
Each shuffled forward
to shake my hand, looking ill at ease
in their baggy suits.
Not overly sweetened by eloquence
or misty with tears,
the eulogies were gruff and simple.
Having survived drought,
hard times, and the battles of war,
reticence was the norm
for Father’s forbearing generation.
A pat on my shoulder was
the most overt feeling expressed.
I stood, the oldest son,
with my back to that open casket,
and gratefully accepted
their implied hugs, as I had his own.


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