The body, bereft of freight, is a wax mold
still warmed from bluest green-flame gone out.
Opacity, gold harp, pasted wings—
Borders become boundaries. Your boys
pitch neon nylon tents in your basement, whisper
ghost stories through the night. They did not see
the chrome-red of your wig which buckled
inside of me a longing for human detail. I fling
words into sky and it is as though some unnatural
force halts their head-heavy plunge into earth.
The priest swings scentless incense, dangles before
our mouths bread which is body which is bread.
My mother—puffy-lidded, doe-eyed—lays
her hands on my cousin’s face. She cannot cauterize
the grief, his heart—restless as the flycatcher’s
scissor-grinding call, as the choo choo revved
too hard to round the bend, as our hands dragged
through your headstone’s grooves—wrestles for you.
John Hogan's poems have appeared in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Verse, and other places.