JUST IN CASE | Dylan Debelis


Then the letting go cascades in objects:
half-empty bottle of mescal and a gym bag and new flowers for the apartment.

They offered me his clothing at the morgue
in a bag that could have come from Sears.

One day a toy truck, another day
I pick up his Jeep from the impound
and leave it on the freeway
with a for sale sign duct taped to the passenger window.

No record of his voice in answering machine cassettes.

No pads of writing to trace the slopes and arches of his vowels.

Maybe poetry black holes like that when we die.

Maybe poetry invisible inks itself in our enlarged hearts to keep us living
that much longer in the hope that words and blood
will be enough to draw our son back into orbit.

Just in case,
when I identify his body in the freezer,
I allow for a moment of silence
to see if any of that poetry will surface from his mouth like oil slick.

Of course, 
nothing comes.

Just in case,
I check the level of coagulants in the toxicology chart
and clarify the timeline of events
before signing the funeral home release
much like I sign my monthly rent check.

We’ve tried so hard to convince these procedures that they are business as usual. 

But those procedures know better than we do.

We tell them to behave
and instead they rupture all those emotions we push deep in our intestines.

No respect.
No warning at all.


Dylan D. Debelis is a founding editor of Pelorus Press, publisher, poet, and performer based out of New York City. He is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister and serves as a hospital chaplain. Dylan has poetry published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, [TAB] Literary Review, [apt] Poetry Review, and others. His first full-length book of poetry entitled 'The Garage? Just Torch It' is out now through Vine Leaves Press and was a Hoffer Award Finalist.