Remainder

Where is he now, the boy
in our fourth grade class
whose mother went missing

for days until they traced
a stench to a shipping
carton shoved underneath

the bed? Her body, hacked
to bits by a disgruntled
client: found wrapped

in old newspapers and stuffed
into a box that might have once
transported milk and dairy

products— I’ve forgotten
the specifics, but after
the funeral, we saw

how he went on, came
to school and met what each
day required with no small

dignity. And I remember
the collection taken up
in church for the family:

how, as the baskets
went around, all of us
wanted to empty our pockets

of change— still stunned,
as they filled, at how a body
could be so rashly divided

into parts and tucked, ear
by finger or hip by joint, bones
loosed from the purse that held them.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Changeless.

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