Fiction Issue

a hollow procession

we laid you east (of paradise and sin),

beneath the rain and its thunder twin.

in the rolling fields of hollow straw,

we laid you down in an earthly maw.

 

i’ve never heard anything so terribly bleak

as mother, crying, when she tried to speak.

in the dialect of grief (that unknowable tongue),

she managed to say, “he died too young”

 

brother, dearest — you weren’t too young.

you were too stubborn, stupid, anger-stung.

you weren’t too hopeless, sad, too brave,

you wanted to be what we couldn’t save

 

you, with that smile, quick as a knife,

and your incomplete introspective prospection of life

(you traitor of me, you grand fool, too)

they take names in hell of people like you.

 

you died your way, YOU did this to you,

you emptied yourself, and you emptied us too.

maddening the mind is not easily done,

how neatly you committed this folly for one!

 

this string of Ds they won’t let me say

is blasphemously loud in a funereal way:

“deader than

dead,

decrepit,

depressed —”

some words (among others) become hard to digest.

 

you were a selfish prick, with your selfish choice,

but I want you back; I miss your voice.

they said your death was out of the blue

but sometimes there were moments… when I think

that I knew.

 

grief isn’t a state.

it’s a sodden space

with no signpost, no landmark,

no friendly face.

 

there’s a cry of a blackbird,

and the lament of a knell

in this nightmarish grief

that neighbours with hell.

 

this march won’t stop, won’t slow, won’t yield

in this wasted land, this rolling field

I need a glimpse of your silhouette

be back, please come back.

we’re

not

all hollow