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death

Boneyard

Like heat he seeks them,
            my son, thirsting 
to learn those

he don’t know
            are his dead—
some with his name

Reaper Madness

When your four-year-old begins talking incessantly about death, there are a few tactics for dealing with it. One is curiosity. Why do you want to die? Why do you hope you die today? Why do you love to die? Why do you want to kill yourself? The four-year-old doesn’t know what death is, not really, and so he cannot truly answer the question.

On the Piney Woods, Death, Bobby Frank Cherry, and Me


Sometimes I wander around wondering
where my mother is. The family buried
her next to her own mother. Out there,
the hard pines darken early. Anyone
can hide and not be found for years.
Bobby Cherry laid low there. The girls came
in his dreams. You can’t live in those woods
and not be haunted by what you’ve done.

Parasites


Para Mamita Juana, Papita Pablo, y Padrino Reden

Alma lost an eye when her house collapsed under ash. 
Milo severed his thumb por una bomba
Juana married John in Las Vegas.
Ernesto washed dishes in Hollywood until his skin cracked 
while impaled children lined El Mozote. 
I eat pan con café de palo for breakfast while David Bowie sings labyrinths 
to the tune of leather.

Visitation

My mother is alive and funny
in the house above the marsh.

I think she does not miss my father much
as he is still alive, though elsewhere.

<em>Tidying Up With Marie Kondo</em>. Directed by Jade Sandberg Wallis. Netflix, 2019. 40 minutes. </p>

On Death and Decluttering

 Two women share a hospital room, separated by a green-blue curtain, at the end of a brief, beige hallway. Their prospects foreclosed by illness, the women have agreed to enter this room, if not to share it, and to find what peace is possible. Separated always by the green-blue curtain, the women receive their respective family members, making few requests, their needs muted in a way that humbles and vexes their visitors. They are aware of each other’s presence, vaguely yet certainly, in the way of animals on opposite sides of an open field, at night.

Pediophobia

10.

Dad, you look like a doll
I wouldn’t want to play with, boxed
in your casket. The mortician
tried to paint you pretty.
I wanted to be pretty, too, but mom says
makeup is inappropriate for funerals.


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