Most people say the nicest things
when death shocks them into
Every kindness is recalled
and praised and
and a picture of a life begins to form—
sometimes so abstract it becomes
a caricature of goodness
iced with fond nostalgia.

But Beth, your goodness
was divided and delivered
long before I knew you—
before I married your brother—
who promises it wasn’t really you
who called me on the phone that night
when I heard your voice
insult me in slurred
and disapproving tones.

By then, I knew
I’d only ever know you
post-demons, post-vices,
All you had left for me were words
that reduced you to this poem—
which to me, a lowly living poet,
was not an entirely wasted

DeMaris Gaunt

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