Text of the Poem

(Poetry for Students)

     A pine box for me. I mean it.
     My father.

For the record, friends and family,
I’d like a pyramid when I go.

A small one is fine: build it     5
out of cardboard in the backyard.

For mortar use duct tape
or school glue: nothing strong enough

to make it sturdy. I want it
to fall down a lot. Lay me in there naked     10

on the shadowed grass and,
whatever the weather,

wait outside all night.
No beer, no burgers or dancing,

no horseshoes. You may smoke. Talk quietly     15
if you must talk. Be very sad.

the wind will push the pyramid over often.
Grumble as you set it back up.

Let it be a hard night. Be bored
and edgy. Snap at each other. Yawn.     20

And just before dawn toss me and my pyramid
in the back of a pickup, drive us

to the dump, and dump us
on the tallest garbage mountain

you can find. It will be repulsive: flies     25
on my lips, old spaghetti sauce smeared

in my hair. Let it smell terrible.
Then go home. Quickly, before the cops show up

with their plastic bags and notebooks.
And on your way home, please     30

accept from me the only gift
I’ll have to give: relief

You’re not me. That even if this world
is a stagnant ditch between nothing

and nothing, you may at least     35
sip from it a little longer. Be glad,

and because I loved you,
forget me as fast as you can.