They were your life, those planes, assembled
one by one over the course of years,
then parked on plywood shelves in two gray sheds—
gray like an aircraft carrier, haze gray
like the days after she died. You passed
the lonely hours building them, and bought
so many kits you surely must have known
there wasn’t enough time to build them all;
one’s lying half assembled on the table,
blueprint underneath unfinished struts
meticulously carved from balsa wood.
You didn’t plan to die; few people do.
Today the flyboys came, paid their respects
with twenties and with fifties, some with checks
made out to “The Estate of” and your life
passed by in front of me. They were your bones—
how quickly they turned into ashes, dust
to dust; the urn was emptied in the breeze
as each man carried off a piece of you.
Patti McCarty, 2009