I stride along with autumn dusk.
Evening air whips at my coat.
I think of two men who have gone before me,
who from beginning of my remembrance
courageously walked the corridors of their days,
endlessly singing or playing instruments caressed
in calloused hands that also twirled my abandoned self
to a scratched phonograph polka record,
endlessly smiling a fancy word
endlessly snorting a giggle at a naughty phrase

I imagine their faces in streamers of pink-tinted clouds,
hear throaty voices in unruly wind
feel Dad’s charred hands hot from smelter work
who wore his heart like a fiery sun
or Grandpa’s wiry legs biking him each day to lime quarry
then back home to his flute, homemade wine
to wink, finger a tune not minding his weary legs
choosing to staccato-pump a stout rhythm

I walk with twisted layers of lethal vulnerability.
How I need their songs and a quick dance in their arms,
the sun slides away, planet tips into evening
anxious moon makes her night debut and magically
illuminates a deserted expanse.
I etch their portraits on fluttering grasses
and from somewhere I hear Grandpa’s tootle
I breathe in the exhale of his old-country tune
and all the while I hold Dad’s flaming heart
burning the shackles of my sadness.