Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Forty-one
Summer 2016
 
CREMATION DAY
Graham Coppin

After they anoint him, he’ll be dressed in clothes selected by my sisters from the
closet where he kept his gun. They’ll place him in a box—pine, the cheapest—
and slide him quietly into the fire. And because it’s still dark where I am, so early

that not even the woman in the apartment next to mine is awake to shuffle and leave
before dawn, too early even for the paper to have been thudded into the lobby tumescent
in its blue latex, I will light candles smelling of a man’s bathed armpits and place them

next to the photograph of my father with the grandsons I never gave him. I’ll sit and
pray the way I’ve been taught by kinder men, and dream about the other times I’ve been
awake at this soft hour, in my room with the lights low, also with flame, and too praying

on my knees for the safe conveyance of a soul coming to me via Uber. Later, the front
page shows three Arab boys emissaried alone across the sea by families who could pay
for only one survivor. They sit alone, arrived and broken, scarred by the cruel and abstract

math of a world’s subtracted heart. Boys, it’s never too soon to start burning things.

About Graham Coppin

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