For the record, I’m the one who made
    all of the arrangements, and not the son

you never taught to manage these sorts
    of situations. I ordered the flowers

and chose the music, gave your other
    deadbeat children a place to stay this week.

I’ll be hosting the reception at my house,
    and I left out all your grandchildren’s

birthday parties and soccer games you missed
    when I wrote your obituary.

Last night, I dreamed I found you quiet
    in the casket I picked out, with your face

a pale mess, and I panicked through my purse
    before the service for lipstick and rouge

to paint you into a person vivid
    and dignified for at least this one last day.

But for the record, this changes nothing,
    and I resent the hundred dollars

I spent on that blue dress. Someone else
    can forget your urn on their mantelpiece

once this is finally over, and that dress
    and all is reduced to ash and cinders.

 

Image Credit:Don LaVange
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“Kevin Casey is the author of And Waking... (Bottom Dog Press, 2016), and American Lotus, winner of the Kithara Prize (forthcoming, Glass Lyre Press). His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Ted Kooser's syndicated column 'American Life in Poetry.'

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