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There was no question about it, the casket would remain
——–—closed. So, we dressed him in his favorite T-shirt & blue jeans
& never minded the makeup over his busted cheek

——–—or broken nose. We tended him best we could, then placed
him in a pine box with a few sentimental things
——–—to keep him wherever it was he was headed. They brought

him out. Preacher-lady donned her slender catch of cloth
——–—& ushered folk in. She said a few words, had us linger
with loneliness awhile. That sort of thing. Sure enough,

——–—our psalm sung, a few came asking why they couldn’t see him
one last time, face to face. No sense seeing what later you might
——–—not want, we told them. God’s clear run off & left his face.

One by one, they runneled out, while we got to carrying him
—-to the old Cadillac. Nothing to it, really, one foot after the other,
holding him tight through those oaken doors. Eased him steady, we did.

——–—Engine’s white noise carried us till we got to where needed going.
More words than made sense. Women started crying. Few of the men too.
——–—Someone joked about the weather, how the newsmen

are always wrong—that there’s no need for an umbrella in all this sun.
——–—After, we shoveled him under a mound that old Antigo silt,
the kind that’s waited all day for skies to open and just goddamn let loose.



Tyler Smith’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Redactions, Ruminate, and Split Rock Review, among others. He is a writer of disability pursuing his PhD at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi.




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