Burial at Sea by DeWitt Clinton

Burial at Sea

We’re sailing now, a sunset sail, friends
who knew all three, as we’ve brought
what’s left of our very dear ones, one
a husband, another a mother with a
daughter aboard, and a wife, with a
husband aboard, and as soon as the
sun is about to set, we will start opening
bags of bone and ash, and begin to say
prayers, perhaps an Our Father, perhaps
a solo, and a Kaddish for the wife, so all
can finally come to rest not in old graveyards,
but somewhere in the deep cold waters,
somewhere where we’ll probably never
be able to plot ourselves back for others,
careful to note the direction of the evening
wind, who’s already lifting shot glasses, all
a bit tipsy, careful not to join our departed,
then a repast for all, and by nightfall, we’ll
scatter back to our lonely homes, remembering
this beautiful summer night where we all cried
goodbyes, remembering where we were that
lovely summer evening sailing out into the bay.


DeWitt Clinton taught English, Creative Writing, and World of Ideas courses for over 30 years at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. His earlier collections of poetry include The Conquistador Dog Texts, The Coyot. Inca Texts, (New Rivers Press), At the End of the War (Kelsay Books, 2018), By A Lake Near A Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters (Is A Rose Press, 2020), and Hello There (Word Tech Communications, 2021). He is a student of Iyengar Yoga, and occasionally substitutes as a yoga instructor for seniors in The Village of Shorewood, Wisconsin.

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