A Poem by Steven Karl

Friends For The Departed
(A requiem for Rector)

For the most part you seem to be in your place, although I could not define you or place but every again & now here you are.  A dream dreamt. A bear dressed in purple velour
drinking beer on 6th Avenue & even despite the bear being beardless, the immediacy of knowing the bear is no normal bear but a buried man come back with hair turned to fur,

You were not petted or chatted to.  You drank alone.

For the most part you seemed to be in your place except when we expected you to arrive at the party.  You weren’t there & most of us didn’t understand.  Yes, us, the royal “we” were left baffled.  The talk of the tuxedo, the song, maybe a well-worn record— the soundless drop the soft touch of needle. & you two moved in dance.  This is understood. But the after. The gun; the mess.

Then the emails the whispering until tongues wilted & those that did not wilt will continue to rage & you must know where you once fished for salmon they have filled with spit & some have sworn off hibernation deciding to go annual so that wherever it is that you are you may not rest.

Others though have let go. Have stopped looking for answers have settled for truths with little t’s, have embraced ugly feelings— no longer embarrassed have let you go.

You always uneven angst & yet,

when your fur is crawling with maggots we will come we will feed you bread & we will swallow liquids with you.  Avenues of Americas or all elsewhere we have brought music to wherever you have gone & will not let you sit alone.


Steven Karl Steven Karl

Steven Karl is the author of the poetry collection (Ir)Rational Animals and had a poem called “Friends for the Departed” appear in a previous issue of InDigest.

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