Poem in the Bardo

I cut your hair when you died so while you lay
resting you’ll look like yourself. The coffin
was sealed. I cried into tissue. I thought
of the way your hair curled, how even in death
it curled. Fresh cut grass stuck to my shoe.
Between two tongues my parting words
just things to choke on at the podium,
where your eyes can’t meet mine,
but I search for them anyway.
There’s someone wearing red. A stain amongst
the gray mourning. Someone else with an umbrella,
even though it wasn’t going to rain. I hope
the coffin is more comfortable than the hospital
bed, though it smells like wood and
embalming fluid. I checked that smell before
they closed the casket. I checked the pillows
you lay your head on. I checked your makeup, too.
And I checked on dad, the dogs, the house. 

Everything was in its place.

 

GRAEME GUTTMANN

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