Something close to truth

by Sven Heuchert

I recognized him waiting at the bus station
Grey face, long black coat
I had forgotten his name
He sat right behind the driver
I could see parts of his reddish scalp
Then I closed my eyes
It was a long drive.

The bus stopped right in front of the cemetery
We walked through the gates
He nodded slightly as he passed me.

That grave is too small, I thought
My father was a big man
Much bigger than that grave

The priest waited ten minutes
Nobody else showed up
It was just the two of us
The priest didn’t count.

There isn’t much to say about my father
We hadn’t seen each other in ten years
The priest spoke in a gentle voice
God owes us nothing, he said.

They buried my father in a cheap coffin
The government paid for it
I smelled the damp soil
Shovel after shovel
The priest was long gone.

We walked back through the gates
It started to rain
We stood at the bus stop, waiting.
Your father burrowed a grand from me, a week after he broke my nose.
He turned his head and looked at me
He was a good fighter, your father
The bus arrived
By now it was pouring rain.

When we got out, he said nothing
He crossed the street
and vanished