“Prop open the door,
or we’ll be locked out.”
Memorial Garden
four steps down.

Abuts the city’s longest street,
no clamor here,
high stone wall stonewalls it.
Year-round green
still as a tomb
safe as a womb.

My sweet wife,
a year since you left me
for urnless residence here.
Three ashes with yours,
your brother
our son
our daughter.

Meet Jennifer, volunteer,
she brought me here.
I love her as a granddaughter,
I call her ‘Jen’.
You would love her too –
our new granddaughter.

Are you watching me now?
Notice something’s empty?
That’s the part of my soul
you used to fill.

Remembering hurts
I’m scared I’ll forget.
Reassuring pain
says I haven’t yet.

Are you hearing me now?
Hear my shameless heart begging:
“Just one more kiss
one more hug
even just one more look.”

You are home in my heart, you live there still
You lived there from the start, you always will

Dean Z. Douthat is a retired engineer residing in a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is 1/4 Native American.