-1My father at the funeral home

Babies are the worst
he says, in between wiping
sweat from his forehead, and
flicking the air with a fingering
clap.

They are day-old; mostly, though
some older. Some born dead, some not.
Peachy flesh often times washed flush
and blue.

Kids though… (he corrects himself, time
flashes underneath his eyelids; he moves his
feet out along the side of the couch, the scar
on his right knee extending all the way through
the bone; he cannot bend, or straighten it all the way.)
Kids are pretty bad…

He says that you can always tell -
you can look at a corpse and see that
once upon a time this person weighed
250 pounds, now down to 90.

Like Cancer? I say.
Yeah

Sometimes old neighbors too, he muses;
there's a strong poetry in remembrance, spoken,
though hardly ever written down, it's parameters better
aligned in the mind then on the page, still
I listen intently. I already know at the
beginning of this conversation that I will
write every word down later, my mind hears
what he says in meter and verse.

I can see him, my father, still in high school,
sweeping oily flower petals across the weedy
carpet; helping to wash the nude bodies before
the autopsy; sometimes after.

When I hear him talk about this I imagine
craggy headstones, brushed soft with the
emerald hips of grass strands. I imagine
being sunken deep inside the ground; frozen
inward with stillness. The hint of not knowing
what's coming next, burned on my lips
like a sunset, mingling with the fiery rouse
of the sixties.

This was before you, he tells me. Way, way
before you.
We both move away from thought,
and go back to watching television.