• Funerals

    Kimberly Johnson

    Spring 2020

    There was the one we planned in the parking
                             Lot, gearshift forgot
                In neutral, motor overhot, stunned sunset

    Blinding off the diagnostic complex.
                             The one from behind
                The radiation lead, his hand

    Snuck out to my protected plastic chair
                             Listing finger
                To finger his favorite hymns.

    The one in the dim drip of the chemo
                            Ward, the onco
                Nurses shushing our too-raucous

    List of uninvites. The heavy art
                             Of giving grief
                Some wieldy order finds relief

    In much revising, its gravity leavened
                             To a new genre.
                Even grief itself softens,

    Kimberly Johnson is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Uncommon Prayer (Persea Books, 2014), and of book-length translations of Virgil and Hesiod. Recipient of grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Mellon Foundation, she has recent work in the New Yorker, Harvard Review, and PMLA and forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2020.

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