Stevieslaw: Guest Poem–Closed Casket

A poem by my friend, Lisa McMonagle, that just appeared in Eclectica. Enjoy.

Closed Casket

We crowd into line
outside the funeral home,
to pay our respects
to Luke’s mother,
eyelids shut
like the casket lid,
to his father, antsy
indoors, and Luke,
locked inside the casket,
hiding the way he played tag
in his parents’ backyard
at dusk, the adults’
cigarette tips glowing
safety from the porch,
while we snuck
tree trunk to tree trunk,
not knowing where “tag”
might come from, staying
clear of the dark woods,
never imagining death
in an open field
on a sunny July day,
Luke, stacking bales
on the wagon lurching
behind the tractor
his father steered
over the hilly fields.
One deep rut toppled
Luke under the baler,
leaving an evenly spaced
trail of body parts
on the neatly shorn stubble.
The grownups whispered
the story and we strained
to hear, as if it was bedtime
and they were reading
Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

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