Gray sky, gray city, this gray hill where
now a siren rips through fog,
some new calamity below.
Rain juices down my face. Hard to see a path,
harder not to think of ash, the grave,
harder not to look over to gray Hayward
from this gray slope
on Fairmont Ridge, harder
not to think of their graves on the next hill (my mother and father)
in that muck across from Kmart, so very far from their
birth homes, in Hayward where no one knows them,
where they came to be less alone with each other.
Will you ever visit our grave? asks she who hates graves
but overcomes her animus on Christmas with a small tree
for my father, because she honors him dead more than alive,
because now he can do no more harm, because death
is a big price to pay for forgiveness.