Elegy for Michael and the Sea, after Lost Uncle by Michael Macklin

by Melissa Crowe

Uncle, today there is nothing to say but yes,
to my new city, cupped in its sequence

of palms purple, periwinkle, watery blue,
these mountains I can see from my driveway,

from the turnpike, from the grocery store parking lot,
and when I swim in the town pool with my girl, we float

in stillness beneath the sight of so many mountains.
I can say nothing but yes to banjo and whiskey voices,

railless roads that narrow to rare air and the sight
of vertical forests, nestled reservoirs, yes to the blessing

of firefly dusk and then the swollen, chirping night,
to the black bear who visits the birdfeeder

and the blueberry bush, to the junkyard hound
who threads the woods behind my house, nose to leaf litter.

Yes to the songborrower dipping to the porch rail,
seeming to consider me before he turns away his beak

and departs, flashing white underwings. Oh, yes
to their sudden, necessary appearance, yes even

to their swift farewell, and there is nothing, either,
to say but yes to the absence of ocean, the noon damp hot

and saltless, yes to my far sister who says the old place
is empty without me, yes to you, Uncle, you gone

in an astonishing flash, more gone
than everything I left behind.