Adam Nussbaum: Funeral Arrangement

Not buried, not cremated,
he asked to be recorded-
ground up, mixed
with wax, molded, &
according to prints lifted
from the stained Olds’
steering wheel, handles
of hammers & golf club
grips, the onyx disc
was grooved. We circled
the player. Mom dropped
the needle, & through the hiss
we hoped for a symphony.
What if, someone said, he turns
out to be Mozart? Someone else
yawned, muttered, Sly
Stone. But it was nothing
like that. A mower
buzzed from the speakers,
a fart fuzzed, footsteps clacked
across a wooden floor, the tick
of Grandma’s knitting needles,
coins plumbing the hollow
belly of a paper cup, rustling
newspaper muffled by
a bathroom door, ruffle
of quilts, a pillowcase
softly etched by lashes, humbly
thumped by the heartbeat
in his temple. He kept
spinning & spinning &
the longer we listened the
longer the record’s radius
grew, tireless edge extending
outward until finally he
caught up, set the present
in our ears, under our noses,
our own heavy breath
whistling out our nostrils.



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