That’s what I say now in my grad papers.
I wonder if the mailman has realized what’s happened.
If he put it all together,
The blue and tan envelopes with the old lady handwriting we keep getting.
The mountain of cookiecutter, white and black cards for him to grab from us.
The box from the donor center.
Extra car no longer in the driveway.
Power bills in a new name.
And no more mail for that one person who’s been getting mail here for thirty years.
Or did he not notice. Are we one of many stops on the route, and he couldn’t tell you the difference between any of the so-called Chapel blank neighborhoods?
At noon I was trying to get a paper written.
At 2:30 I got a call.
Hey, sit down, not good news.
Something something medivac, something aorta.
I put my professors on standby.
By 10 a.m. the next day I was on a plane.
My good mask, the darth vader kind with the special filters, of course, comes tomorrow.
And I walked into a house of relieved people.
The house was lighter.
We kept crying,
But no one has yelled at me since I’ve been home.
We got through the funeral fine.
We all can’t believe how free we are.
Mad at him, but free.
You have to decide the color lining you want in a casket.
Please write down your preference now.
Your selection of $150 urns on display, some with guns and flags and others that look like mini crypts.
You want to bring them clothes that cover their neck. The necks don’t look good.
They only use a lot of makeup if the bruising is bad from where they take the corneas.
You need to know their parent’s names. Is it Ham spelled with one m or two?
Keep it somewhere handy for when you die, so your family isn’t trying to google sitting on the green velour couches in the parlor.
Just go ahead and memorize their social security number.
The phone company, by the way, can’t change anything without a death certificate, and cable, internet and phone are all separate calls, even though they’re the same company.
You die, and it’s paperwork.
You don’t turn to ash, you turn to paper.
We played cards and no one killed our joy.
We didn’t have to worry about what we were going to get him while we were out.
If he could make it out of the car.
If he wouldn’t eat there.
We did have to track down where he kept the gun that used to be in the keyboard drawer.
We did have to figure out where all the online gambling money was, and cash it out via Canadian check.
We did have to download his contacts into an excel sheet and print out for mom.
We did have to throw away his toothbrush.
We did have to remind ourselves he’s not just in the other room, ready to be in a bad mood, ready to sigh. Ready to yell.