by Lance Levens

The sunken cheeks, the teeth protuberant,
the casket open in this heat — it’s tough
believing this is my unruly aunt.
What I remember tends to grits and gruff,

the Miller-driven tongue-slaps as she stirred
her chitlins while she dandled her daughter’s child,
explosions from some fury she deferred,
filth you could imagine from some wild

street demon. Her scarred friends, who’ve come to plea
bargain with the terror in the hole,
approach her body, afraid of what they’ll see.

The preacher calms their hearts, but doesn’t shy
away — not this Baptist: you have a soul.
It lives beyond the grave. And you will die.

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Lance Levens is a writer/ Latin teacher (St. Andrews on the Marsh, Savannnah GA). His short stories, poems and essays have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Chimaera, The Raintown Review and others. Jubilate, a chapbook (Pudding House Press) was published in 2007. In that same year he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in short fiction.
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Pat Jones
Published October 3 2010