funeral for a young man

so many of those little black
dresses came to your funeral
i don’t think they’d known death
in this way before
i thought about
how many of those cocktail dresses
you must have pillaged
and i couldn’t remember
if it was three
or only two women
whom you’d gotten pregnant
within a few months —
of all the young men
driving their jeeps
through the nineties
you were the most
rocking back and kicking
both feet against the constraints
of this world —
this priest has no conviction
in the dry gravel of his voice
and i have trouble
that you’re folded in the great mother’s wings
until your father tells us
that he asked for a sign
and on the bridge
he found the laminated picture
of the saint who watches over departed souls —
i can’t imagine
you in heaven
where all the spirits
are quiet and well-behaved
i don’t know
where someone who is two hundred
percent alive
when they leave this place;
maybe you’re on your way back
right now
slipping inside the body forming
of a wild colt
getting ready to kick back up
onto your feet again

wendy shaffer

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