“But What Do the Dead Need?” by Ace Boggess

“But What Do the Dead Need?” —David Citino, “Funding the Dead”

No candles sparked 
in blessed afterthought.
Why pray with fire? 

No coins. My father 
wouldn’t be caught dead 
beneath your charity. 

My mother might 
appreciate makeup,
a firm wig—
youthfully brunette not aging white.
She’d forgive highlights we recognize her by.

Incense? Too empty 
for the breathless,
acerbic for remainders in the chapel, shrine. 

Photos? Poems? Facebook posts? 
The dead scroll by without looking, 
clicking Like.

They’ve danced their final boogie, 
twist, Charleston, funky chicken;
sang the ultimate honkytonk karaoke. 
If we throw them a party, they won’t come. 

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press) and The Prisoners. His recent poems appear in Michigan Quarterly Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, Natural Bridge, and other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.