On the sixth day of a five-day tour of Indian burial
mounds, I park my car. No low sculpted hills here
in the shape of a snake or an eagle or an egg.
At the service, grief seeps from us, mixed from our love
and shame and restraint; the woman next to me
picks at her palm, a man pinches the bridge of his nose.
Wanting to make him immortal, Achilles’s
mother dipped his body in the River Styx.
The waters that separate us from the dead
rise in our throats, and we remain death’s meat,
woundable at the heel and every place higher.
On the ride home, I buy a fifth of bourbon and gas
up the car. All around, in roadside gullies, in the yards
of our homes, against the walls of abandoned sheds,
the tight nubs of the day lilies open, their stems lean.