A Proper Burial by Sean Purio

in lieu of donations
to a scholarship bearing
the cold echo of my name,

send all the riotous flowers
from around this glorious globe
to my funeral.

send all the barrels 
of whiskey and bourbon
and scotch, too. hell, spirit

whatever spirits you want
in my dead direction.
haul in cords and cords

of dry firewood
—perhaps some birch and oak
and sweet, sweet piñon—

build that funeral pyre high,
and for the sake of all things holy,
bring all the fiery poems

meant to ignite human hearts
and sing them to the sky.
how else to celebrate

the brevity of the body,
the bloom and fade
of us all? how else

to celebrate a life
but with the spoken
flower of words?

Sean Purio’s work has appeared in War, Literature, and the Arts, where he also serves as fiction editor, and in Review Americana. He is an active duty Air Force officer and doctoral student in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he worked with US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

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