Cousin’s Body by Domenic Scopa

I never told this-
I saw my cousin’s body convulse,
one last time,
before they covered it with a sheet,
his pupils relaxing on the priest
as if he had a final sin
to confess
before he reached the flames.
It was impossible
to watch him buckle up
for another fate,
another sky breathing its solace,
or to see him in that hospital bed
as one
being consoled or purified.

I was half-alarmed,
                        half-ashamed,
to arrive so quickly
and witness him collapse
just minutes after the collision,
the snowflakes like confetti,
in the scream of red and blue LEDs-
If only he could have read
the razor edge of that curve
                        in the road,
and the power of the snow plow,
droning with its diesel,
as it shoved a pile
into his lane-

How hard it must be for poor Frankie,
lost in mania,
wherever he wanders,
with the smell of gasoline still on him,
his wonderful eyes rigid and relentless
as if locked in a debate
between the thrill of speeding
and the risk of arrest.
Anyone, man or spirit,
would be moved by his fierce contradictions-

Worm-bound, faces decomposed,
                        voices only dust,
they must nod to him and smile
in the silk darkness.

Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Poetry Quarterly, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently an adjunct professor for the Changing Lives Through Literature program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also a copyeditor for The Tishman Review and a manuscript reader for Hunger Mountain.  

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