When they buried you

I was ten. Service started
in the mausoleum, cold in August, dry
in Charleston. My face was swollen
blooming in red— crying still doesn’t suit me.
Men I didn’t know in sharp uniform
draped a flag over your casket
as if it was an honor. It would be
an honor to hear your laugh
crack and wheeze. Mourners lined up
in six prim rows split
down the middle. Men in sharp uniform
marched through glass doors into sunlight,
rifles on shoulders. More lines.
Some mechanism, invisible strings, prompted
them to lift and switch and snap, rifles
more lines, 70 degree angle held tight.
Those were the first shots I heard
since you… since you… since you…
My shoes were off, bare blistered feet
on marble, pads only pumping
to the opposite wall. All glass and names.
I watched from the dark
hands over ears and the shots
kept coming. My navy blue dress itched
inside and out.

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