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"Funeral" by Richard Gagnon

Gary Miller

When it comes time there will be no fanfare,
no second line New Orleans send-off
trailing children and yapping dogs in its wake.
He’ll be cordially stuffed into a stout black bag,
ready for that slow ride--sans lights or sirens,
these thin-lipped jail staff perpetually dream of.

At unforseen moments, algebraically brief and crystalline, John
restores the Weimar, though layered deep in faltering gray matter:
such lurid stories, rich with glottal stops, umlauts and barking consonants.
His polestaff father was born in 1892, sometimes 1880,
any belle epoque instant inconvenient to the fatherland’s greatness.
Midsentence, a vast pause, eyes clouding with crematoria smoke.
The scream, avalanche-like, cannot wait for nightfall.

What has he gifted them with during
those twoo’clockthreeo’clockfouro’clock nights,
delivering his staccato message padiddle bomb boom,
banging that green steel door eight
to the bar quick as Old John Henry’s hammer?
Only this calamitous ululating shiva
battering the wings of sleep.