Merry Christmas; Father is Gone, a poem

Merry Christmas; Father is Gone

Merry Christmas;
Father is gone.
His body is dust on the mantle
Beside balsam needles, magnolia leaves
And a photo of young Mother
Kissing him in her crown of baby’s breath— 
Those white hot holy stars—
Her lace and his gold-buttoned blazer.
Fire breathes below.
Embers turn ashes on hot stone.

We gather on couches and guess
What gifts he’d give if he were home.
What poems he’d pen to mark the year,
To smear our foreheads, dear, blest.
What words to wake us to Christ’s cheer?

    Who wears the crown now,
    those white hot stars?
    Who blazes gold and evergreen?
    Who lies with lions, wakes from dreams,
    and, watching no clock, gathers us all?