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no widow,
no weeping,
no cries of grief.
there’s talk of a son,
but no son;

just chalky faces
of men—stoic
and distant
and steeped
in tradition.

a few minutes more,
i’ll close the box
and lock him away
from strangers’ eyes;
that shameful rouge,
that cruel disguise,

committed
to darkness,

then to the dirt,
then to the worms—

nemo ante
mortem beatus
,

no man is blessed
before his death.