What Shall I Surrender Today?

What shall I surrender today?

What piece of my father will disappear?

What ancient recollection will my memory abandon?


Feverishly I try to capture his essence and put it to the page

With each deep recording, each rediscovered e-mail, each new comment from strangers, friends, and family, he surges forward again

But more faintly

Like worn out tapes, their oxides crumbling against the heads

The moments of his life

So infrequently intersected with my own

Turn to dust, like his body


What shall I surrender today?

Will it be something I’ve shared, that I can afford to lose?

Might something trivial disappear, of no consequence, with no impact in its loss?

Or am I forgetting something important

Something that would explain all,

Something that would heal the open wounds,

Mend the many rifts of life?


I clutch at each fleeting image

But my range is shorter now

And my grip is weak

His advice plays in my ears:

“Don’t worry about the dying…. worry about living.”


What shall I surrender today?

He cautioned us to “Let it go”

Then twirled his fingers just so,

Eyes dulled with age, but still twinkling,

And recited one last time:

“Never mind”

© 2018 John Dillon