Cleaning my father’s grave

It is my father’s birthday,
and I spray magic on his tombstone,
expecting not resurrection
but cleansing

Surprisingly, the dirt falls away,
and his name becomes clearer:
I wait for half an hour as instructed,
then do it again,
and the marble is white
– whiter than some snow

If I had better magic
I would make his whole life clearer:
I was ten when he died
and can remember almost nothing
except the time he ran up the avenue
chasing the moon,
and I followed on my bike

Now he would be 105 –
that much is clear.
To keep his grave clean is the least I can do,
and the most