The Eulogist

1
A thought came: amiss

2
—Why did he die?
—Consumption.
—As in Kafka?
—As in consuming.
—As in swallowing?
—As in long, callous wasting.

3
Name _____. Age _____. Residence _____. Date of Death _____.
Location of Death _____. City/State _____. Why? _____.

4
She can’t see; probably why
her voice was hollow;
her wedding ring worn; hinged
at midriff. Wedding ring on
her right hand: the death
index.

5
—Consumption of what?
—No, not consumption of what, but of what?
—Of what?
—Exactly.

6
Date of Birth _____. City/State _____. Profession _____. Hobbies/Activities _____.
Next of Kin/Survived bys _____.

7
It had no other place
beside her mouth—her
voice. She doesn’t see I
misspelled the name because
I didn’t bother to look
down, and I didn’t bother
to ask her breast: stripped,
dotting the tip of her blouse.
A shame, I noted.

8
—How am I to pretend?
—Pretend?
—Pretend that I know?
—Know what?
—Know him.
—Pretend that you knew.

9
Date/Location of Memorial Service _____. Arrangements _____. Burial site _____.
Date of Burial _____.

10
I see through the finished
window. She asked of
the outside. I remarked
that it became dark too
soon. Too early in the day.

11
—How am I to pretend that I knew?
—You don’t, it wouldn’t be honest.
—Honesty?
—It wouldn’t be grief, wouldn’t be authentic.
—Not knowing is grief?
—No, not knowing is honest.

12
Donations made to Persons/Organization _____. Location of Persons/Organization_____.
Arrangements under direction of _____.

13
An image: her head
bobbing, like an oil rig,
above my lap. No sounds.

14
—It’s reasonable I guess, since I don’t.
—But you will.
—Then it wouldn’t be pretending.
—Then it will be authentic.

15
A love note.

16
I wondered if I slept
with her, with my back
to the floor, if she’d help raise
me up after we’ve finished.

17
—I write on blank, copy paper.
—In pen?
—Always in pen.
—What if I’d like a copy?
—You won’t.
—Why?
—You pay for closure.
—No, I pay for lying.
—No, you pay for creating.
—You are no God.
—But, I answer.

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Michael J. Pagan is a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing program. His poetry has been published in Florida Atlantic University’s Coastlines Literary Magazine along with “An Interview with Forrest Gander.” His poetry has also appeared in Bridle Path Press.

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