On a shelf in Grand Rapids maybe there’s a thick plastic bag of dirt and shit, a bag of ash:
the remains of my grandfather, whose six children gathered quietly for what looked exactly like mourning.
They stood around a low-budget urn my uncle had filled with kitty litter. He said it feels the same.
He couldn’t leave it empty but money’s tight and do you know what they charge. Each said to the next yeah, money’s tight,
maybe in a few months, and from that moment no one spoke of him again. He’d left his trailer to the daughter
he fucked the most and she sold it for heroin, the biggest buy she’d ever made.
When it was gone, she licked the inside of the bag until it opened at the seams.
Jessica L. Walsh is the author of two poetry collections as well as two chapbooks. She is currently at work on her third book. Her work has appeared in Lunch Ticket, RHINO, Tinderbox, Whale Road Review, and more. A native of rural Michigan, she now teaches community college in the Chicago suburbs. Find more at jessicalwalsh.com.