Steamer Trunk

vessel lake huron.jpg

Steamer Trunk

The gap in the ground
yawned like a toothless mouth
waiting for teeth
waiting for the box
of her bones
aligned and perfumed
like sundries in a steamer trunk.

Her death certificate stamped
like a passport in her pocket
currency exchanged
and shiny new pennies
leveled on her closed eyes
ready to go.

How far away
did we have to go
before the crew,
their gloved hands
holding shovels like oars,
knew they could swoop
in from the trees
cast off dock lines
and launch that perfect
polished vessel.

Hook it up
swing it over
drop it down
release enough
then scoop
then the rest
then again
scoop by scoop by scoop
rearrange the polite dirt
no longer sweating
underneath yesterday’s tarp
damp with rain
tamp it down
on titanium then
christen it with sod.

How far from that site
did we have to walk
before we learned
how ill-prepared we were
for the re-arrangement
that grief would procure
upon every single step
we took, each breath;
how unfamiliar with cemetery
tripping hazards-
sprinkler heads
crushed roses
and gravestones the size
of shoe boxes.

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