What You Learn

Answers to questions you never imagined someone would ask: this casket, those lilies. Days filled with steps you never thought of: draft obituary, choose suit, pore through books of headstones, order cold cuts. Your only thought: this is happening. Back at the house, waiting on the kitchen counter to be unpacked, a plastic bag of personal effects: neatly folded khakis, beat up shoes stuffed with socks, watch you gave him only months ago, belt wrapped around itself, favorite shirt ripped open by urgent scissors tearing through. Stories you cannot tell, what you haven’t seen but see has happened: your mother home from the hospital with a half-filled bag, things she watched leave the house in the morning, everything emptied of life in less than a day and waiting for us to do we-don’t-know-what with. What you learn: you do whatever comes next. There’s no going back.


Brian Simoneau’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Boulevard, Cave Wall, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Salamander, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals. His work is also included in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, he lives in Boston with his wife and their two young daughters.