Perhaps there’s a kind of afterlife that is made up of our memories of a departed person, especially as these cling to that person’s belongings. Bruce Snider, who lives and teaches in California, suggests that here.
I wake to leafless vines and muddy fields,
patches of standing water. His pocketknife
waits in my dresser drawer, still able to gut fish.
I pick up his green shirt, put it on for the fourth day
in a row. Outside, the rusty nail he hammered
catches me, leaves its stain on everything.
The temperature drops, the whole shore
filling with him: his dented chew can, waders,
the cattails kinked, bowing their distress.
At the pier, I use his old pliers to ready the line:
fatheads, darters, a blood worm jig. Today, the lake’s
one truth is hardness. When the trout bite,
I pull the serviceable things glistening into air.