Bone Marrow's Spongy and Daddy Don't Lie

by Jaclyn Garver

My dad used to watch TV shows about what happened after death. (He doesn’t talk about them much these days.)

 

This was his favorite detail, the one my dad—unreligious, though his mother insisted, Just open your heart to Jesus. It’ll be OK, whose father began to pray in the years before death, Just in case—would present as proof of the soul:

 

            I

 

They put this dying man in an air-tight casket,
and at the precise moment of passing,
the glass split.
It cracked.
Something

 

escaped.

 

            II

 

My dad is not a liar. That is not is way.

 

If he said, I found

the complete skeleton of

a brachiosaurs in

the backyard, I’d call

the archeologists.

I wouldn’t even need to see

the bones before I’d call.


If you beat him

at cards, he might throw

his hand with the force of

a right hook, make his aces and kings

do the air-hockey slide

across the kitchen table—but he’s not

 

a cheat. His single ghost story

about the night of two-ton ink barrels

and nooses holds the truth to me

of E=mc2 or Newton and all his

thermodynamics.

 

            III

 

I don’t believe in God like the

monotheists or the poly,

don’t call it him or father or
Yahweh or Sal, but within the
spongy marrow of my bones I know

I contain new blood cells to make
new blood cells to make
new cartilage and fat and bone to make
love like starbursts and tingles
in my teeth to make
poetry the texture of mountains

and lace to make

a soul

            IV

because my father told me so.

About the Author

Jaclyn Youhana Garver is a freelance writer and editor from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has been featured on the website Poets Reading the News, the literary magazine Narrow Road and the Superstition Review blog (forthcoming). Her work has also been chosen by the Wick Poetry Center as a Traveling Stanza selection.