Issue > Poetry
Colin Pope

Colin Pope

Colin Pope's first collection, Why I Didn't Go to Your Funeral, is forthcoming from Tolsun Books. His manuscript Prayer Book for an American God was named a finalist for the 2018 Louise Bogan Award and 2019 St. Lawrence Award, and his work has appeared in Slate, Rattle, Ninth Letter, Best New Poets, and others. Colin serves on the staffs of Cimarron Review and Nimrod International.

Second Eulogy for a Drowned Boy


We have it backwards, of course. Inflated
with reasons to stay alive,
we thrust armloads of meaning
at these dead children. This one,

he doesn't care
and didn't even know his string had been yanked
clean off. We wouldn't want to have died so young,

is what we mean. Before we knew enough
not to die young
. Like untying
the last balloon off a chairback

from the birthday yard. Yellow spot,
holding all that breath tight inside:
you can let it out now.
We just wanted to see what the clouds would do
when you bumbled across them. We can't imagine,

don't want to imagine
that moment they squeeze you so hard
in their soft, white embrace
you think you're home. What do you even know

of home? Glinting lid and shell,
the casket's crown as though it were stretched taut,
polished skin. What do you even know of home?
A blanket made

of a mother, draped across your chest,
shaking so violently she could pop.

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