Line for Billy

How are we gonna
heat our house this winter?
One mourner has a stove
but it eats a lot of wood, he says,
standing in a line
barely any light left and ten degrees
behind an IGA
and no place for parking.
A great loss…
A great tragedy…
He sold me mulch…
He sold me flowers…
He taught me how to hunt…
We hoisted one together.
We followed The Dead.
Here we all search for understanding
on our feet for how many hours
at this crowded Northfield funeral home.
It’s not like trying to find a lost watch.
It’s not like re-building a house.
We know the faces
          (but some of the names escape us…
He’s bearded,
no tie,
his hands folded for the Lord’s Prayer.
I can’t pretend I knew him
but plenty of other people did.
As I’m writing this a multitude pays its respects.
I’m sitting in a rental car drinking a beer.
For him, I say.
All’s I remember is the maroon Corvette
he couldn’t get started after JB’s funeral…

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