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by Christine Klocek-Lim

Embalmed, you looked as strange
as a wax man in a museum:
no engine in there anymore,
no gas left to burn.
They filed up to pray over your wired husk.
They brought cut flowers and prayer cards
and much weeping

though your spirit fled years earlier.
Before the iv drip, before the oxygen,
before your walk ran down
like an unwound clock,
you looked away and left unnoticed.

But I remember your birch walking stick,
the mushrooms you used to pick,
the chunk of maple you unearthed when I was eight
in a kind of reverse burial.

You'd been saving that wood for years.

It aged better than any of us could guess,
better than you, that's for sure.
You played the fiddle you made
from it every night that summer,
stomped your foot like a revved engine.
The music I remember refutes the silence of your wake
when everyone wore black to send you to your grave.
I knew, kid though I was, you weren't there.
That old body was a fake fit only for burial,
but the fiddle you made is good as new.

Even now it sounds like you.

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