on my way home i toss the bottle filled with messages off the back of the ferry to victoria

nuclear apocolypse ­— the neighbors had a bomb shelter we didn’t    no need to worry chimes dad    i begin digging    dad grabs a pick   together we dig until i gave up

dad calls spence at 6am to play chess not 6pm 

dark secret ­— shh    “what you see here stays here”    edwards Air Force base    area 51    29 palmslate    50s early 60s  dad’s engineering air conditioning systems for multi story underground cities    exclusive for officers only    he will not be left behind ­— humanitarian 

edema ­— ankles the size of tree trunks

hercules ­— builds our house from the foundation uplifting 4’ x 8’ x 1” sheets of plywood onto one shoulder   hammering it in place with his free hand ­— always building something­ when he’s not leaning over a drafting table cabinets   house   boat  a-frame    cabin    truck console   sanctuary for me    aviary    barn another house    green house    another house   another cabin    another house 

i move dad and his dog from his island home 38 years    British columbia ­— august 2011    he needed my care­   i adopt taylor

“animals are good citizens”

grand hotel—10 minutes away    assisted living    roomy studio apartment.  six meals a day  cruise ship like activities ­— i use his furniture artwork    recreate the home he left

brooklyn tech high school    aeronautical course    weight lifting clubwater polo    class of 1946 honors

dad’s weight is up c h f ­— congestive heart failure­    clouds increasing in weight retaining fluids cardiologist dr kaku 

usc archimedes circle    rocket propulsion engineering    civil engineering    class of 1952

he got lost i took his car keys     i draw dad’s wrinkles while he sleeps ­— which did i create ?

mathematician    6 of 1 half dozen the other    a pint is a pound the world around

we play 21 for ruler of the universe he counts his own cards ­— loses so I will win

designs and engineers specialty air conditioning systems   scientific testing laboratories    Northrop   las vegas casinos

huge bandage on his head ­— fell no complaints ever    post polio syndrome I buy a walker he wants a space ship

vounteers to man the space station    eyes closed designs fuel-less spaceships

memories vanishing clouds mesmerizing    looking up searching for memories   draw clouds wrinkles with graphite

plays piano guitar concertina his mom played piano in carnegie hall

can’t remember my name     eyes tear when i hug him

eyes tear when he hugs me

telepathic bonds fill the void left by words

studies biomedical engineering online monitors the hcv virus i hosted for    40 years ­ ­— killed in 2016

dad struggles to climb stairs with his walker forgets there’s an elevator

“the bigger picture is made from smaller things ­— pay attention”

we play 21 for ruler of the universe    i count his cards ­— he wins every hand

Terra ­— remarries love of his life savior mom 

can’t breath c o p d ­— oxygen tank wheelchair    good day bad day i am less sad more sad    silence speaks volumes

gives back educator energy management conservation vancouver island university 

i mark my awakenings each day thoughts become words on paper 

“everything is never the whole thing”    “life is not meant to be easy”

proof of life ­— questioning life ­— in my journal i begin the new year makeing a room sized evidence boardstrings criss-crossing like wormholes connecting unsequenced events physical proof of time marks we make marks we leave    wordless calligraphy    why should art be archival everything expires

“a door not meant to be opened is not the same as a wall”

hash marks counting days 31755 ­— 87 years    january 17 2015 too tired to open birthday cards    i am too tired to get out of bed 

hitchcock movie ­— ducks fill dads pond packed  wing to wing   his congregation grew each year    buys two 100 pound sacks of bird food each week to feed his ‘persons of aviary persuasion’

i imagine the “game of life” spinner navigates me into the world we sit in the garden eyes closed working on projects 

athlete ­— dad walks across the room on his hands   swims one mile during lunch m t w t f     plays four wall handball

hospice — legs to heavy to move    dark crushing skies i marvel at the complexity within a narrow grayscale    i draw clouds wrinkles every chance i get 

“give more take less”   “buy high sell low”

a caregiver calls him grandpa   he blows her a kiss     i draw dads wrinkles every chance i get

draws cartoons    makes wooden giftboxes     handmakes birthday cards 

we play 21 for ruler of the universe    dad sleeps — i play both our hands

“you can do anything — choose something that gets you up in the morning”

april 14 2015     dad wakes in a great mood wearing a huge smile   caregiver takes a selfie with him

breakfast — nap — lunch — nap

“here’s to tomorrow whether we’re invited or not“   tepper saffren [grandson]

i rest my head on his warm body as it turns cold    clouds overhead are not childlike icloud icons    the covers on my bed are too heavy to lift — i runaway from home

“throw my ashes off the back of the ferry”

i treasure the materiality of dad’s ashes — heavier than expected    i make small urns for my siblings    mix ashes with cement    pour it into a large bottle    family friends caregivers write notes      label — hello friend i am traveling the ocean after i have passed away   please toss me back into my beloved waters

eternally yours

i engineer paper boats to carry dadrun experiments tensile strength     tests    buoyancy water seepage flammability reliability in a swimming pool     paper specs : 30” x 30” cotton rag somerset 300gsm    saturate with melted beeswax    fold each square into a vessel   insert wicks at bow and stern    our family of seven fly drive ferry to salt spring island

dad has many good friends

we set sail into the pacific ocean from ganges marina    the sun kisses the endless horizon    clouds filtering golden pink violet light     we scoop dads ashes into the candle boats    lower them into the open waters   light wicks    flames and wind bury dad at the edge of the earth

forever my muse