Memorial Service · Steven Deutsch

I hardly knew
the dear departed

and what was there to know
anyway? That the man

who passed unnaturally
soon was much more

saintly than I? Brilliant,
with a fine sense of humor

and parenting skills to rival
those of “Father Knows Best?”

How could I not
imagine my own service?

Suppose the speakers
were not eulogists

but the
damaged

those I
trespassed upon?

They’d limp up
bent nearly in two

with the weight
of their worlds

bursting with need
to expose their festering wounds

a hundred
or, perhaps just one.

Dazzling the mourners
in sequins and rags,

she’d calmly stand
at the lectern

of my final pageant
to the respect of dead silence

and tell
in the same voice

that once startled
Moses.


Over the past two years, Steve Deutsch’s work has appeared in over 2 dozen journals. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His Chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press. His full length book, Persistence of Memory will be published in September, 2020.