Call me Dan, not Father, you’d tell everyone.
A numinous intellect unbound by dogma,
intoning Ocean of deepest mystery at mass

in our living rooms. Abstemious, religious
about your All-Bran for breakfast, daily walks,
9 o’clock bedtime. Born on St. Patrick’s Day,

threading our family history with blessings—
you married us, baptized our children, treated
each of us with dignity but never took yourself

too seriously. The brown outback hat,
good-natured guffaw announcing your arrival
at family gatherings from which you’d quietly

disappear. Your saunter that would burst
into speed like a nervous chicken, you joked.
The two years you lost in seminary to crippling

headaches, everyone pooh-poohing them
until they found the brain tumor. Your struggle
to recover, complete your studies—becoming

a priest, professor of theology, author of esoteric
books. Losing your way again late in life—
ambling, confused, down corridors of memory

that criss-crossed, doubled back on you like
a maze. Wouldn’t bother us about repeated
falls until you’d been hospitalized three

weeks. Brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews
flying, driving hours to circle your bed, hold
your hand, hear you say yes to small spoonfuls

of ice cream—don’t have to think twice
watch the nurse dispense a little morphine
to ease your pain. Not until after we’d gone—

traveled home to jobs and families—did you
finally slip your moorings and cast off,
into that inscrutable, solitary sea.