Rumors of Her Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Mistake one: driving by two cemeteries when the kids
are tired. Mistake two: saying only some people get
buried. Where are the others, my son asks.

So I have to explain cremation. Iím smart enough
to leave out burials at sea, bodies never found,
the yawn of earthquakes, missing children,

teens on spring breaks that never end, bodies hidden,
basements and old barns and attics. What war can do.
Shells, mortar rounds, the terror of Claymore mines Ė

theyíre filled with old screws and nuts, metal scraps
twisting through bodies until they embed deeply
into trees, even rocks. Someone angry invented

these, someone who lived in a junkyard.
So I donít say this. All the while Iím trying to change
the subject, get them home. Look at the Christmas

lights, the yellow car, the cement mixer. But where
do you want your ashes, he says, where is it that
you love. Heís crying, heís tapping my shoulder,

Iím exclaiming over a stray dog and do you think
weíll get more snow, wouldnít you love more snow
Walker; heís saying when is Daddy going to die,

donít die before me; I have both hands on the wheel,
Iím remarking over the stars, help me look for the moon,
Iím slowing for a stoplight that is red, red, red, red, red.

Karen Skolfield lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two children and teaches travel writing at the University of Massachusetts. She is a contributing editor at the literary magazine Bateau and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apple Valley Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, PANK, Rattle, Slipstream, West Branch, and others.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761