My father sat on the backseat in a small cardboard box
while I quarreled with my siblings.
The rain was coming down in buckets,
the Santa Cruz mountain roads winding,
a felled branch and we were stalled.
Nobody taught me what to do with the big empty space
his death made. I hunkered inside it like a boxing ring,
punching at every human who crossed my path.
I hated my father as much as I loved him
and there was no body to hate any more
so I hated all bodies. My father's get rich quick
dreams always ended in the redwoods
so we left him, in the end, there, water
pooling at the base of a trunk. I watched my father's
ashes swirl. A dozen years later I still need something
solid to hit in his absence, my fists hit my mattress,
there's so much of my past I can't remember
even if I sense it in my limbs. Today, I rode the same
winding roads of Santa Cruz--not a cloud in the sky,
the heat of late spring, and I slept and I dreamed my dad's dreams.