A Poet Chases Away the Pallbearers

William Cody

Cody Maher

The American expat poet Cody Maher messages that “some years back in a diabolical playful mood” he jotted down a few notes called “The Pallbearers.” “Most of those pallbearers have already bit the dust,” he adds. In a similar mood, I asked my staff of thousands to post the poem, which I like for the grim story it tells and for its mordant humor.


The pallbearers arrived late
It was uncomfortable to say the least
I didn’t like the looks of them from a distance
and they looked even worse up close
It looked like they hadn’t been getting much sleep
I’m not going to pay for dreamers
They’ve got shoulders don’t they
Let them dream as much as they want as long as
they are able to shoulder my burden
One guy had his hair greased back and was wearing
pointed white shoes
Another guy had one of those collarless jackets on
and his hair was all the way down to his ass
Maybe he wasn’t a guy
As long as he has shoulders I don’t care what he is
One guy was dressed in a uniform but I couldn’t
figure out which country he’d been fighting for
Or was running away from now
One guy had an enlarged pelvic bone and a deformed
jaw that was sticking into my ribs
One guy had a caved in chest but broad shoulders
that were standing in my way
It looked like there was one man short
These guys looked like they’d been in the business
a long time
I didn’t like the looks of them
The guy with the white shoes looked like he’d seen
a ghost
The guy with the uniform kept attempting to
unfold a flag and couldn’t seem to get it right
I thought to myself
What does a flag have anything to do with what’s going on here
The one that kept sticking to my ribs couldn’t keep
his hands to himself
The broad shouldered guy had weak knees
The one with the pelvic disorder kept scratching his
Pallbearers discover they have shoulders at my expense
History is a fatal blow to the head I thought to myself
A mysterious woman behind a veil clutched a handful of dirt
I removed the veil and threw it in her face
I chased the pallbearers away like flies
It is on mornings like this that I ask myself why I
was born
It is on just such a morning that off in the distance
I can see the pallbearers kicking up the dust
Blood coming out of their mouths
It must be something they ate the night before.

— Cody Maher

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