The Funeral of Henry von Reuter

A singer cries in sunglasses to circulate the light,
Brilliant on a Dixie snare. A drunk band assembles,
As saints march in to the nickel of noon.

The wind tossing on the Gulf of Mexico
Was an historic phantom. Busy in war, citrus or gin,
Henry followed life to a last public echo

Of sulfur, fuggy air, or speeches at the lectern.
Deep in the Date Line, prosthetic limbs still ask,
‘Were you bombed?’ His gay rite is a Nipponese dusk,

And in death, Henry stands at the fountain’s lip
To flip pennies at the schooling orange koi,
Popping the water, as at Midway Island in ’42.

Jesse Schweppe is a poet living in Maine. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.