Vern's Elegy

Vern’s Elegy

Increasingly I walk in your shadow,
Your voice imprinted on me like a brand.
Eighteen years have passed—then I was callow—
Enough to watch a boy become a man.

I wake as you did, long before the light
The timbre of your voice is my north star
In guiding scholars to their greatest heights
But now I cannot wonder where you are.

The distance from your ashes to the urn,
The space between, let’s measure it in years.
If teachers still have lessons left to learn
Will they be taught by opposites of seers?

All this to say, I’m teaching now, a gift
I’ve opened from you, one you meant to give?
Speculation’s all I’m left with. I wish
I could have found and thanked you while you lived.

Though shrewd folks sit and labor over wills
The dead don’t choose the ways they are revered
With every drop of coffee that I spill
I honor all the brown stains on your beard.