We’re at Einer’s Pond until midnight
catching frogs for bait and watching mayflies hatch.
Heading home I fall asleep wrapped with my star quilt
in the back of the hearse.
Next thing Altvatter’s out of the car shouting.
The rear door flings open.
Someone unrolls me without asking,
without saying a word.
Staring through the dark
I press flat as a shadow against the window,
while my edges blur and cool like the sun’s rim
during winter dusks.
Mens’ voices rumble
like stones turning underground.
I can’t make out Altvatter’s voice
from the others.
In the glare of headlights
two men with bloody hands keep mumbling.
All I can hear is sorry
but their eyes flicker like lit matches
as they spit and pass a bottle;
I hear a shovel scrape the pavement.
Someone shoos a hound away.
They lift the stretcher in beside me;
A dead man wrapped in my quilt,
a bucket of scared bull-frogs
singing jug-o-rum jug-o-rum,
the long ride home