Unbeknownst to You, My Brother
By Lucia May
Downtown the coroner speaks
with averted eyes about the bullet
and its path from your hand to your head.
He whispers his request
to kindly remove my child from the room.
For your funeral your wife dresses
in plastic shoes and a tight ruby dress.
You don't know that she will never give
our mother your ashes in the cardboard box.
She will scatter them to your son's horror.
You don't know that one morning
our mother will be found
lying in a ﬁeld in the muddiness
of her stroke.
Your young son sits in the back row
during the service at the funeral home.
You don't know that he too will die
at your age.
In my Bible
there is no holy card from your funeral
but I have saved a yellow lined
memo sheet from the coroner
with the heading William J. Brown.
In my handwriting is
One spent, 5 extra
Smith and Wesson
The coroner, Dr. Edelstein, wrote
Ser # S-305856
The minister glanced down to his notes
during the ﬁnal prayer
to remind himself of your name.
(Reprinted from Blond Boy (Evening Street Press, 2014); originally published in The Awakenings Review, Fall 2012)
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