Volume 35, Number 2

Jessica Mitford, America Still Needs You

The funeral home down the road
now employs a dog to help
ease the pain of bereavement.

Lately this friendly fellow’s been starring
in TV ads unfailingly aimed
at all but the hardest hearts.

There he goes
in soft focus and slow motion,
crossing a green field
while an unseen narrator pledges
to all a dignified parting.

We are told
that the dog will attend these farewells
and gently comfort the dearly beloved.

We are not told
that first one must pay
ten grand or more

to have the corpse gutted,
pumped full of toxins, and boxed
before the dog eases any bereavement.

Yesterday I saw him
out in the parking lot,
mounting a bulldog
next to a hearse
as if to say
Fuck this business.

—Mark Zimmermann