A Proper Burial

A Proper Burial


Brian Rihlmann




He saw me at the grocery store,

and asked if I was the guy

who used to bartend there

Twenty years ago, and I froze,

then lied, and turned away.


But he knew it was me.

And I’d recognized him too.


For the last week,

I’ve been wondering why.


I don’t think it was him,

but more the presence of the past,

like some impudent

half-rotted zombie

that crawled from its grave

to grasp my shoulder

in its bony hand,

and whirl me around

to face its eyes

like the gleaming lenses

of telescopes peering into a life

I believed was light years away,

but now its light has reached me,

and its shadows too,

and I am both drawn to it

and repulsed,

a tormented necrophiliac

still lusting the corpse

of a twenty something life

of buzzy pleasure, fast women,

and shallow, easy camaraderie.


I never gave all that a proper burial,

never threw myself down

and pounded the ground

with futile blows of my fists

while screaming its name.


It rests in an unmarked grave

that is everywhere I step.



Bio: Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press, Alien Buddha Zine, Synchronized Chaos, Madness Muse Press and The American Journal Of Poetry.  

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