They once believed grandfather would live forever,
such strength must control its own destiny.
But now they travel to collect his shell,
deliver it to the ground,
for death has taken him
and his belongings no longer serve a purpose.
Wagon wheels lift dust on the old road.
The family inside bounces over the bumps
in their best black and calico.
The night has not softened high temperatures.
Trees have not yet returned,
but saplings have emerged in the cracked tar.
a cat howls like a child-ghost
over the wind’s wheeze and whir
or is it a car’s phantom skating over the distant highway
and a child-like ghost howling like a cat in heat?
Beyond lie the shadows of skyscrapers
once raised from the marshland,
monolithic, cavalier he was,
with steel that hid plum jam behind automated-teller machines.
Decomposition has begun.
Elbows no longer can bend at ninety degree angles,
water does not pass through the throat,
and arteries are clogged.
His time has passed; silly they thought it never possible.
The bloated remains do not fit in their wagon
and the suitcases are insufficient for his possessions.
Ill-equipped for his burial, such was the magnitude and wealth.
Feral pigs, lichen, and rain water must now help
before the dust collector agrees to a deal.