Nicholas Molbert

I S   ( W A S ),  A R E   ( W E R E )

I’m sorry for calling you an it but how
was I supposed to know it was only after 

the funeral that your body relinquished
its he? I just thought you were anywhere  

except in that body with its Brillo pad hair
those bifocals that mole above the eyebrow 

and were you watching as everyone kneeled
in front of it that replica of you I mean 

and remembered real carefully at your hassock
and casket. Hands were tucked in pockets 

or slack on shoulders or rubbing backs
of strangers. Each touch turned 

a stranger into an acquaintance. Between
the Oscar this Oscar that the Your grandfather

this Your grandfather that the two-handed
handshakes and pats on the elbow

we the survivors overflowed with thanks
thank you thanks thank you 
which is not 

what we normally say but will I guess
when very sad or very alone. 

Poor us we couldn’t say your name.
Now we can’t stop saying it.

Nicholas Molbert lives and writes in Central Illinois. His work has been published in or is forthcoming from American Literary ReviewFjords ReviewMissouri Review, and Ninth Letter among others.