My 72-year-old mother
makes silent tributes 
to Prince
touches of purple
here and there
alstroemeria in her front room
bought the day
his death was announced 
(keeps its color + petals
for weeks afterwards)
oddly dyed starfish
sprinkled on a shelf
in the bathroom 

I ask my father
what he thinks
of Prince’s death
He said, “It’s sad,
but I miss Merle more.
His songs relate
to my life.”
My father,
usually a real talker,
gives this as
his only commentary.

I think how odd it is
to form connections
to strangers,
a cosmic dot-to-dot.
I wonder if this
even begins
to explain
why my parents
aren’t together anymore 
after 40 years,
and I think how 
they are becoming strangers,
how we are
becoming strangers.

– Jessica Swafford