You Must Get in the Habit of Doing

You must get in the habit of doing

And now

Because soon the scrawled, reluctant lists he wrote

Will lose their cogency and, without doing, 

You will forget how to light the oven of his ancient stove

Or when to feed his parrot and what to do

When yellow blisters creep between its toes

And your first and oldest title, Beloved Daughter

Will never grace

The stone above your final resting place

Because no one will stand then to recall

How he touched your chubby baby face

Or how you asked him to write them down, every task

That would help him leave in peace

When fate follows proper order

Fathers die before their children

And because grief will not let us to call it grace

We call it mercy