a poem: a toast to the roofs of my village

 

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The old men in the old country
die with unannounced poison in their bones
cheeks turning red to black,
far past rosy vodka friendliness
whispered slurs of slipping away
wrapped in the same white sheets they were born on
surrounded by ancient grandmother pillars of pillows
soon to be buried next to all previous generations
under neon-colored plastic flowers
and broken china cups of rain water to eternally sip
worn out weary legs bent under hay-making shoulders
rheumy watery eyes and lotion-less skin
big belly gut heaving from the lung stress
sitting splayed on the one one person-sized mattress
thinking of his father
thinking of me
thinking of nothing
semi-encircled by the entire village family
throwing arms in the air clutching vodka swallows;
nothing much is different on this his last day.

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