Poetry by Loralee Sepsey

Powders and Urns

When you were a baby
I remember sneaking
into Ted’s pickup truck at midnight
with Nan in tow
we were headed to the Jack in the Box, do you remember?
there used to be one down on Gisler
before the In-n-Out was there
that was when we lived on Iowa Street
you used to call it the Grand Home

We hopped in the car and I think she was
looking for something
air freshener
spare keys
Something
it’s not important

And she opened the small
compartment between the driver’s side and mine
and gasped
what is it?
nothing, how about them curly fries?

Today at the funeral I stood above his urn and wondered again what was
in that small compartment between the driver’s side and mine
all those years ago
was it the heroin that turned him into ashes?
Cocaine?
the dime bag of weed that sent him to jail
so many times?

So today I asked Nan while we were eating
the KFC that the neighbors brought over
and Mom was sleeping in your bed
you know she can’t go in their room anymore?
she can’t stand it

Social

I found out you died on Snapchat
not that you died on Snapchat
but Ed Myers posted the link to your
GoFundMe and I didn’t believe it
was real until I went to your Facebook
profile and everyone was tagging you
in pictures and memories and
I don’t know if you knew that night
if you were going to wake up
the next morning I think you were
counting on it which is completely
understandable given the circumstances
only twenty-two I am sorry
it didn’t work out the way
you planned I know everyone
says you’re in heaven
or the oft-mentioned never-specified
better place but I know as sure
as you know that religion is
a coping mechanism for death
and I know as sure as you know
that you can’t smell anything
anymore and I am sorry
for that I wish I wish
I wish I wish that
your brother wasn’t still
pending on your Facebook profile

Loralee Sepsey is a Paiute-Shoshone poet living in Southern California. A member of the Big Pine Paiute tribe, she holds a BA in Creative Writing from Stanford University and is currently working towards her MFA in Poetry at the Institute of American Indian Arts. In her spare time, Sepsey enjoys traveling up and down the West Coast and spending time with her beloved cat, Lemi.

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