Always at the pen

Men with white hair
men with dark suits
men with white roses with stems
six to eight feet long.
Each bundle of flowers
looks like a body
carried with reverence,
up the steep hill.
Someone,
somewhere in the procession drops a pen.
Things step, and then start again.
A whitehaired man in a suit
throws us one —
when it hits the grass,
the head comes off.
She picks it up
and it’s hard and heavy
like porcelain,
but smooth like glass,
but warm like plastic.
The woman is getting
her daughter from a train station;
she dreamt in her sleep,
and is upset
because she has to go home.
“Always at the pen I am awakened,” she weeps.
“Always at the pen.”
That is when I realize
I am holding one —
the moment it falls.

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