Because my son saw the round hay bales-- 1200 pounds apiece, shrink-wrapped in white plastic-- lining the fields, we have had to search all evening for marshmallows. Two stores were out. Another had one stale and shrunken bag. The fourth had three bags, but no wood for fire, so we went back to the first. And I needed newspaper to start the kindling, which is how I know Earl Softy died Monday, at home, in his sleep, of natural causes. So rarely we know how we know what we know. Don't turn the page. Sit with us awhile, here by the fire in New Hampshire. Have a marshmallow. Because my wife and I love each other and wanted something of, and more than, ourselves; because my little son has imagined heaven in the pasture land, even death tastes sweet.
From Natural Causes: Poems by Mark Cox © 2004. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.