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Original artwork by Anthony J. Powers

Temporarily Dead

Peter Mladinic

One Sunday after church:

Where’s Uncle Martin? 

I asked a fire escape out a window.


On high, with God, happier there.

But to get there he had to 

not exist for a spell.

The waxen hands

in the casket looked like hands 

that knotted the flowered tie he wore Sundays 

he sat

legs crossed in an easy chair.

At his side a tall glass of Piels with a head 

of foam.


his joy greater than ours,

he sits at the feet of God.

We will, too

First we’ll have to be good and dead.

First, we’ll have to not be, really not be.