. . . thou wilt see / The many mites in many
a manner mixed / Amid a void
– T. Lucretius
His grandmother no longer looks human.
He imagines the casket closed, wonders at the dark
stillness, and whether there are sounds underground.
Of course there are, he tells himself;
the answer confuses him.
Strangers laugh and talk as though at a party.
Someone says it’s for the best and he wonders how that could be.
He imagines her room and her not there.
The room exactly as she left it;
her furniture, the table and lamp by her chair,
her reading glasses on the white lace doily, one of many
she crocheted, and her photos, all untouched.
Yesterday morning, by the window in her room,
he saw the dust moving in the sunlight. It shimmered like gold;
his father said all molecules vibrate; their motion
random, carried by the warming air.
Dust trembles even in the empty stillness.
Wondering what random can mean, he pictures
her absent in the shimmering dust.
Struggling with nothing,
he wonders what that might mean.
Leonard Temme studied music theory, harmony, composition and piano initially with his father, a choir master and composer, then with several private tutors before attending Queens College of the City University of New York and the Manhattan School of Music. He served as Poet Laureate of North West Florida between 1989 and 1992.