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Muldoon Monument Co.

ISSUE:  Autumn 1995
Through a lighted window
I stare into the empty store.
This is an odd cemetery of the anonymous
and not yet dead, full of headstones
with polished unmarked faces, the carved angel
held aloft by an Italianate column,
an obelisk pointing toward a stucco ceiling,
not at godheads of cloud or into some vacant sky.
Tonight, at the hospital down the street
an elderly man flatlines in the ICU, as a kid
with a cold beer wedged into his crotch
takes a turn too fast on Hunsinger Lane,
the infant turning onto its belly stops crying
and seemingly falls asleep, cold
to the touch of the mother next morning
before she cries out, cold like the hand
of one of the salesmen tomorrow
as he lifts his palm from a red granite marker
to greet the next customer coming through
the glass doors, a woman wearing sunglasses
and obligatory black dress. All of these
beautiful stones and marbles, waiting
for a birth, hyphen to mark a whole life,
the year of death, the chiselstrike
of the first letter of the first name,
anyone’s, yours or mine.


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