remembered a gold picture frame
during the phone call
"when I pass on you’ll have the painting,"
he said. on our uncle's wall, grandmother’s fox in oils.
Ma hounded the animals too on horseback.
prey crouched head-on for this canvas
reminded Ma perhaps of the creature alive
what beauty may fall when we hunt and win.
uncle also keeps grandfather's letters
written through the Second World War,
when Pa slept by big guns on The Somme.
their mud and killing
penned notebooks to keep them sane.
lucky escapes with more than names remembered.
if war arrives we could write another life;
fresh paper doubles as a doorway.
form letters so they click open or build.
a pause by a window
father’s fountain pen curling script, recalled,
gold nib and marbled barrel kept away from children.
when he lived we coveted his fancy pen.
the cupboard secure as a locked gun,
his perfect hand-writing afire with privilege.
the instrument a spent bullet when he died.
both Grandfather and Dad whistled songs,
music invented from will and air,
tuned on game-shooting drives or when chopping wood.
voices when we open vintage albums
wondering over many snaps of birthday cakes.
an entire afternoon to decide what photos say this time.
when art and death meet day or evening
both the same size and all in black,
old friends laugh and embrace the mystery.