“September 18th” By Abigail Fagan (2015)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest, First Prize (2015)

Before they put the yellow sod back on
they asked if we’d like to take little clumps
of earth and help put him to rest,
fingerprinted bits to keep him
in the ground in the urn in Montana
where it’s cold underfoot and always dry.
We nodded and took lumps of earth
from the wheelbarrow. They sat
between our fingers like ice cubes,
cold as our wet chilled cheeks,
blue like the urn we circled with
our close-toed black shoes. We knelt
and placed our cloves of salt-watered dirt
in the hole. I put the dirt in my pocket first,
and it turned into dust in the warmth.

This poem first appeared in the 2015 edition of LRR

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