Snow like a scrape of chalk
on his grave stone.
You talk to it out loud:
frozen ground, snow,
the ashy granite. It took us

an hour of driving through
the cemetery to find it,
I inherited your sense of direction.

He died the year I was born,
I have no memories of him.
I stand, snow in my shoes,
20 years younger than he was
when he died, and you
stand, 20 years older than he was,
and I wonder

what would be worse,
to outlive you and stand 
over your grave
or to die first and know 

you felt absence on both sides,

before you 
and after.

 Mathew's  first book of poetry titled Tiny Alms will be published in March by Permanent Sleep Press. His work has appeared in Easy Village, Euphony, Up The River, The Magnolia Review and other publications.