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Left Behind

I like the dead who never leave, the ones
still in the roomólike Uncle Phil,

who's bound to smack the back of my head again
once we're alone, his response to my pierced ear

thirty years ago. Maybe he was drunk,
or his own dead mom was in the room

smacking him in the head. Smack!


Once when my son was young

I drove off without him,
leaving the big boy who had gone to pee.

Nine blocks away, I found myself
talking to an empty car seat.

I was dead, of shame.
It was what death will be,

where no one will see me
u-turning always, across three lanes of traffic.

Alan Michael Parker

Long Division
Tupelo Press

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