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July 2017, vol 13 no 2

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Kathryn J. Stevens

Things To Leave Out of the Obituary
after Joyce Sutphen

There’s probably no need to mention that your grandmother, who played scrabble in
French, German, and English but couldn’t boil water, taught you how to weave

torn socks, using something resembling a lollipop. Or that you use this same
tool when mending the holes that appear at neck edges and waistbands whenever you

rip out the tags you’re convinced “they” put there to drive you moon-mad,
and don’t discuss the birth of your children, especially the second one, and how

the pains felt as if a six hundred pound mule was kicking you repeatedly in the butt,
and it will really embarrass the children if you add that in spite of the mule

and the doctor, natural childbirth was a way better high than pot or mushrooms,
and that it was the only time you felt you really accomplished something,

although the doctor got all the credit, and it is also better not to touch on your
anxiety disorder, or how it compels you to read the ends of books before the beginning,

and it’s definitely a good idea to omit the fact that you don’t eat salads because
they remind you of Daphne, and you worry that having green leaves in your teeth

is a sign that the fates will give chase, and we all know how that’s likely to end, and it’s
better not to confess that you see elongated faces staring up at you open-mouthed

and screaming from heart-of pine floor boards, or how much time you spend in public
restrooms taking iPhotos of surreal vistas stamped into vinyl floor tiles, and definitely

don’t include this: that the obituary is the only way you know to get your picture in the
paper — the one taken at high school graduation.

with grace
my ashes drift
toward the trees
the wind shifts and I
fly back into their faces


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