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Writers’ Weir: Elders Comparing the Views from Their Crypts

A poem by Dan Branch.

He knew all the protestants, I the Catholics,

those I’d seen at mass and the Pancake Breakfasts,

the believer who asked me to join the Knights,

the gentle man with a smoker’s cough that killed him,

The woman, old and Irish, whose whispered critiques

of father’s homily rang in the narthex.

For me, the crypted protestants, mostly Presbyterians,

were just obituary headlines.

You’d think we were in Northern Ireland. My protestant

friend shared stories of those not Catholic who he

remembered as neighbors, co-workers, or victims.

We both wondered at a weathered cigarette

jammed into the gap between niche door and frame

in lieu of flowers, checked for a pharos’ name,

then wandered away to our respective niches

each smug that his crypt will offer the better view.

Dan Branch

The Capital City Weekly, which runs in the Juneau Empire’s Thursday editions, accepts submissions of poetry, fiction and nonfiction for Writers’ Weir. To submit a piece for consideration, email us at editor@juneauempire.com.

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