On a cool morning of false rain, 
like this morning, 
when the low and shameless gray sky 
refuses to shed tears, 
our rusting spades bite chunks from the hard red clay.
We make slow but steady progress, 
as if the iron earth will refuse him, too. 

‘Bout halfway down to the Promised Land, 
having buried our lifeless criticisms of incarceration, 
the four of us’ve said nothing, 
beyond weary sighs and shifty eyes 
at the shoddy fit of the box of yellow pine 
featuring only an ancient prisoner ID# in flat-black paint. 

Of a sudden, clouds rend for a paternal sun, 
peering down to impart a gentle wisdom: 
At the four corners where meet 
Ignorance and Knowledge, Brutality and Culture 
we will find the merciful dignity 
with which to treat our dead. 

Noses rebelling against musts of labor and mortality
upon lowering him into the cold ground, 
our spades direct an onomatopoeia of dirt pattering onto the box, 
lending this prisoner, this man his final voice 
ha-rumpf … ha-rumpf … ha-rumpf 
to continue in death the path he chose in life; 
he who would refuse all who would refuse him.