i’ve heard
every bad
mortician joke
a thousand times

how’s business?
bet they’re dying to see you?

and at one time
it made me want
to pickle the comedian
on my embalming table

but i’ve long since
stopped caring about
editorial cringing

and the press conference of
pointed questions wielded

how did you endure that?
what made you want to be a funeral director?
is it harder when it’s a child?
i’ll bet you’ve seen it all, huh?

then come the requests for tabloid photos
gory details
of the suicide
car crash
IED
cancer
dead baby
homicide

blood tracing
brain spatter
on quilt patterns

the puddle of urine and shit
beneath every body

rigor mortis
livor mortis

(me not revealing
i don’t like massages
because
it reminds me of
rubbing the wet corpses to increase
drainage of blood
and circulation
of embalming fluid)

ever seen one with a boner?
do they cut the feet off to fit tall people in caskets?

the living are far more frightening than the dead

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

how many dead bodies have you seen?

it doesn’t matter
the only one
of any consequence
was my father’s