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Neil Richard Grayson Trying Not to Cry Through the End of a Eulogy

I found a pair of earrings under my sister’s old bed last night. Convinced that they were yours from the last time you’d used the bed as a guest, I set them on the nightstand where they would not get lost, but also where I would not have to look at them. Then again, tonight, I found two more under my bed (and let’s be honest, you always snuck in here anyway,) so now, I’m unsure of what I should do. This much of you cannot possibly still be here. I imagine that even your face has decomposed by now, time and small gravities having pulled it rotting piece by piece to the bottom of your coffin, your teeth now collected in a little pile in the back of your skull. I don’t know the specifics. I’m not in there, or you, anymore. But I do have delusions. Finally, you’re your own woman now. Only you own your bones. I feel like this poem needs to be long, to properly address my grief. Lament comes to mind, and to mouth (mine, not yours— like I said, yours is rotten. Your bones, while sovereign, are powder.) Do we build coffins to last or to decompose? I feel like I should know these things, considering—like I’m responsible, not for you, or for your body, but for your remains. But they’re not really yours anymore, are they? No soul holds them together. They’ve disintegrated and scattered. Bits of you have already grown up into the trees; your eyes (what were your eyes, but are now just dead eyes,) already a bucolic brown and green, are in the bark somewhere. Roots do not have bark. They do not protect themselves, because they need to be able to receive the particles of what used to be your body as they arrive. You sway in the wind now, then. That’s what this means. And you fall with the fall, crunching underfoot. You keep, and I want you to be dead, so I can throw away the fucking earrings, but who knows when you might come back, eolian you, touch what’s yours again.

Trying Not to Cry Through the End of a Eulogy  
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