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Ace Boggess




the phrase that irritates me 

when I’m at the local indie store looking for a book 

is “posthumous poems” 

sometimes title sometimes sub-

I grumble like an aging high school grammarian

or trainer in the orca tank having wasted his life

teaching whales to type: 

a posthumous collection perhaps 

or a book 

                                                            no man 

writes poems after he’s dead

not even Neruda 

who still has sonnets popping up each year

in new translations or lost words found 

as if dug up with him in the exhumation


I would tell the shop clerk who might also be the owner 

that we write our lines for the dead not they for us


but she smiles & daydreams 

about tobacco smoke I smell on her clothes

when what she wants is a short break

                                                                or an ending 

so that later in the comfort of her grave 

she might relax with a posthumous cigarette


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