Karl Koweski

dead old guy in a casket

no different
than any of the other
hundred corpses
in a hundred 
other boxes.

I’m stopped before
I can make it
back to my seat
by a wilted woman
flanked by grown sons.

I’ve never seen them before.
they’ve never seen me
but I offer the grieving
family my condolences.

“did you work with Jon?”
the presumed widow asks.

“no, ma’am, I did not,
we were lovers,” I say
loud enough to be heard
by those gathered.
“when I was thirteen years old
he was my big teddy bear
and I’ll never forget him.”

her eyes glaze over
bottom lip quivering.
her sons request
my departure, apparently
they have enough trauma.

I walk out to my car.
no one follows.

sometimes, they do.

I spread the
obituary page
across the steering wheel
and read down the column.

near the bottom,
Donnie Allridge.
his wake at
Godwin’s Funeral Home
is across town.
if I hurry
I can arrive in time
to rewrite
another man’s history.

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