I pull off, park on the soft shoulder of a front yard
to let the motorcade crawl by. On the porch,
this lawn’s owner too is stopped in awkward deference
to watch the dark cars snake into the churchyard up ahead.
He’s left his rented aerator sunken in mid-plug,
Kentucky-31 bag slumped on the stump of what must be
an oak that rotted over years ago, by the driveway.
I nod in his direction; he only winces when he looks
in mine—my resting here to pay respects
is ruining the parts of yard that he considered finished:
I’m packing back the plugs unplugged, killing off the grass
he likely only coaxed to grow last spring.
But what else can I do? What would he have me do?
The final black sedan has yet to pass. The car that reads
POLICE in back of them is still in back of me.
I’m sorry for the things the dead bring us to do,
I want to say, but don’t. I’m sorry for the detours
that we drive, the silence we take on to let them be.