From “The Whole of Him Collected” by Gregory Loselle

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Gregory Loselle

from THE WHOLE OF HIM COLLECTED

10

The box of papers on the closet floor
contains his discharge papers from the war,
a couple letters, dog tags: amulets
against prospective dangers, even bets
on futures filed away, here; telegrams
my grandmother amended in shorthand
notes (“May God protect you,”) on their backs;
her death certificate, its seal (not wax
like his diplomas also here with hers)
stamped paper pressed into concentric curves
through pulp and print, disturbing the intent
of text accounting how her life was spent
a quarter century before—why keep
these things? For what? And why disturb their sleep?

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
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