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About this Poem 

“On the day of my father’s funeral I was a child, I was father to my children, I was somehow father to my father. And the traffic magically parted. ‘Succession’ tries to capture the range of emotions and experiences.”
Jeffrey Brown

Succession

One morning state police
escort us to your grave
the next my flight is canceled.

Maintenance issues breaking
out all over. You would speak
of a “grand theory,” something

tying all this together, but
you had none yourself, none
that reached me then or now

as I drive your car slowly
into the tranquil streets
of my youth. Here is where

I learned to ride a bike, on
this high hill that is no
hill at all. And still I fell.

And now you descend and
still I fall. And here is where
I learned to doubt, in the chapel

where we donned black skullcaps
that meant nothing, I tell you.
If god speaks it is elsewhere.

And here are my own children
rooted and uncertain
watching me speak to you.

You watched the news every night
worried if I did not make “air”—
traveling, sick, useless, lost.

Now that you are gone—
traffic parted by the state police—
can I, too, disappear?
 

Copyright © 2015 by Jeffrey Brown. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Jeffrey Brown. Used with permission of the author.

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown is author of The News (Copper Canyon Press, 2015). He is a senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, public television’s nightly newscast.