Unattended Funeral (draft 2)

Unattended Funeral

I didn’t go to your funeral, a year ago
today. All I can think is how I want
to ask forgiveness from your corpse
for failing to show up, to pay
my respects, to cry with everyone else
when they lowered your coffin into cold December
ground. I can’t remember what excuse I gave myself
for why I didn’t plan to go, but I do remember
how you used to jut your chin
upwards, in some kind of teenage-boy’s salute
as we passed in the school hallways;
how every single pair of the jeans you wore
had at least one hole
in at least one knee; how you gave yourself third-degree burns
and got stuck in a wheelchair
for a month when we were in ninth grade
because you threw kerosene on a bonfire
after the men’s soccer team won 7-2.

We were less than friends but more
than acquaintances, whatever that means. So it’s strange
to think about you every day, when I saw you
maybe once after graduation. I can’t help
but wonder why that is, why I mull over your death
like some strange piece of a currency
I’m not familiar with. Your funeral –
would going there have fixed this? And
what does it mean to let go, and
how does one get closure, exactly, and…

watching the people you know die –
is that what it means to grow up?


2 thoughts on “Unattended Funeral (draft 2)

  1. After the blackberries poem, this might be my next favorite. I think it’s eerie (because death always tends to be) but very beautiful.

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