Monday, March 30, 2009


Today is Elliott's funeral.

He is twenty-years
to the minister who droned through the twenty-third psalm at the prayer service
last night.

I warm to myth
although it's frightening

Eighth grade,
Elliott is ADD
and Caleb, labeled

They make an odd pair:
Elliott, 5 feet
Caleb, 6 feet 5

Elliott, adopted
Caleb, his mother's prize

The three of us drive
this highway everyday.
We pass the anti-abortion

It's a yard ornament
in a politically active
farmer's front yard

This month
the image pasted-
up depicts
a rotted fetus
in a woman's outstretched
hand. Her nails are perfectly
painted red.

The caption reads
God knows all that you do

What was that character's name
in the Great Gatsby?

The music plays too loudly,
the corn, on either side
of the shoulderless roadway,
looms, an unbroken wall
of green. The sky scintillate.
A few clouds cast quick
shadows that run ahead of us
across the landscape.

We pass our opinions
to our kids.

Caleb scoffs at the image.

Elliott is quiet.
The music roars,
the car flashes east,
the wind sends the clouds wherever it blows them,

And then he speaks,
and the story is all cliche,
except the part when
his grandparents get political,
pound an "it's a boy"
sign in the sixteen-year-old,
rich jock's yard. Unless that's
cliche, too.

She could have aborted me.
Those who consider their lives accidental.

Baptism is language.
We're a group
of adults driving east.

Then four years pass.
Then an ice-blue dawn sky.
Then the car rises-up
like a monster
writhing from earth
and leaps into the air
and it's too late
and it's always dark
and Elliott is a little drunk
and they've all just graduated
from high school
and the minister browbeats
us, everyone one of us,
for over an hour
and the car writhes
and Myrtle couldn't stop Tom
and Elliott couldn't stop Myrtle
and he was born
and now he's dead
and today is his funeral
in a church the shape of Noah's Ark

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