image: a man and a body at a morgue in Iraq

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by Thomas Lynch

Two girls found dead. My sons go to the morgue.
Two cots, thick rubber gloves, two body bags.

Too long stuffed in a culvert, raped and stabbed,
too decomposed to recognize. Too sad.

Two local ne’er-do-wells no doubt abused
too much as children themselves, stand mute.

Two caskets in a room, two families undone.
Two ministers. Two homilies. My sons

too busy with flowers and townspeople
to contemplate the problem of evil,

to shake their fists at God, regard instead
two funerals – the living and the dead

to be transported in their separate griefs –
two hearses to be washed, two limousines.

Today the wakes and paperwork details.
Tomorrow a burning and a burial.

Two girls found dead of known brutalities
together forever, precious memories

too sweet, too savage, too beautiful and bad
to keep at bay by ritual or words.

Two boys about their father’s business learn
to number, comfort, witness and keep track.

Learn more about Thomas Lynch, an undertaker/poet living and working in Milford, Michigan -from a book review at