At midnight the president says, We have taken custody of his body. The next day the radio says he was buried at sea, as is the custom. At sea, the custom. To take custody of a body. As in, we will take it every other weekend to our house across town—

Who called it— time of death?

That night I have a sit-down with Bush, Jr. He’s sitting across from me like in a prison visit minus the large telephone and the glass. I say something un-American— he’s just a small man in a sweater so it seems okay, but someone squeezes my hand, and I know terror.

When I returned home a month later the smell still had custody of downtown, but nothing like the smell the day of. That I couldn’t know. (That) I missed. All of us watching it happen, in Ohio. My father watching from West Broadway on his way home from a haircut. No one could take custody of those bodies because they didn’t find whole bodies or in some cases any parts of.

But today it’s the death of a man, not a day for fireworks, more firefight, flight— we run through the streets like the idiots we are, like the redneck, flag-waving, dollar-suckling creatures we are. I fear I have done something terrible by not high-fiving our commanders in chiefs by not saluting, not nodding simply nodding, what a good thing this man is dead. What a good thing another man is dead. Another person dead in this amorphous war on— it’s a war on—

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REBECCA KEITH’s poems and other writing have appeared in Best New Poets, The Laurel Review, The Rumpus, BOMBlog, The Awl, Dossier, The Millions, and elsewhere. A native of downtown New York, Rebecca is a founder, curator, and host of Mixer Reading and Music series. She also sings and plays guitar and keyboards in Butchers & Bakers

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