The Gift (for RNS)


On an April night that seems sacred
by way of the sky’s spectacular design,
you take me to see your father’s grave.
Nothing about this is sad. 
It is both celebratory and matter of fact.
As if he and I are being introduced,
and I am expected to look him in the eyes,
the same German blue as yours,
and firmly shake his hand.
When the headlights break the dark
that lies quietly over Mt. Olivet,
the wet clover and shorn grass
luminesce like a jeweler’s case.
The marble stones and caryatids
give back a portion of the glow.
Before we can even reach 
the curve where he rests,
we grow stunned and still.
Three fawns and a doe
who were at rest in the dew,
rise up and briefly bolt.
Perhaps they detect a calm
in our breathlessness.
They halt their retreat and turn.
Eyes echo the beaming headlamps.
The middle two soon kneel again,
while the other sentinels stand.
Minutes pass, easy as sleep.
Silent and sudden, on the right,
a majestic buck appears.
He assays the scene, catches a scent,
shakes his massive head.
At once, they all flush and break.
Their white tails flash, and then,
quick as instinct, they are gone. 
It’s hard to say what we think,
here on the seam between
this world and that. 
We know the lay of the land.
Moments, days, years.
Every living thing that ever was and is,
all come to the same pass.
The wonder that quiets our tongues
makes us wonder how long
this gift of grace can last. 

The Edge Partner Directory is your resource for festivals, classes, products and services
Previous articleDaddy Come Back
Next articleYou Can’t Outrun Your Microbes: How Exercise Affects Your Gut
Tony Gardner
Tony Gardner earned an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he won the Richard M. Devine Memorial Fellowship in poetry and served as poetry editor of the Mid-American Review. His work has been published in the Cincinnati Poetry Review, the Sonora Review, Willow Springs, The Literary Review, the Kansas City Star, Everyday Poems and other journals. Tony lives in Shawnee, KS. Contact him at [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.