The Forum Prize
Spring 2012
Ed Madden

Before the Viewing

He seems so small, his hands folded, his suit
a little loose, despite the pins and tucks,
the makeup a little too much, his cheeks
pink, his lips. The funeral director adjusts

the lights a bit, the pink and blue, but still
he looks like a doll, not a farmer,
not a dead man, not my father. It’s difficult
to think here, outside the box. The funeral

director sits with my mother and me
on a pale sofa across the room while one
of her men fusses over him with dust,
tint, browns the lips a bit. She tells

my mother she seems very calm. She is very calm.
We wonder if he should have his glasses on.
©2012 Ed Madden