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All roads in Indianapolis lead
to Heaven with purgatorial stops
at a Marriott every twenty-six miles,
third room from the elevator, fourth floor,
Do not Disturb on the inside knob,
coffee pot near the sink in the far corner,
a letter in longhand on the desk,
a census of words never said aloud,
too many to fit in a hotel envelope.

White starch long sleeve pressed and hung
in the closet near the door, one tie
black with aqua swirls, a Paul Rodan,
the one grandma preferred, worn
to her burial, straightened in the back seat
before stepping onto the curb
at the marble steps of St. Lucy's,
standing in last place behind Anthony;
in front of him, his uncle, my father,
the left side of her casket hard, heavy,
beautiful on our shoulders.

      — Frank Matagrano