Men At My Father’s Funeral

By William Matthews

The ones his age who shook my hand
on their way out sent fear along
my arm like heroin. These weren’t
men mute about their feelings,
or what’s a body language for?

And I, the glib one, who’d stood
with my back to my father’s body
and praised the heart that attacked him?
I’d made my stab at elegy,
the flesh made word: the very spit

in my mouth was sour with ruth
and eloquence. What could be worse?
Silence, the anthem of my father’s
new country. And thus this babble,
like a dial tone, from our bodies.

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