"Every year I bury a couple hundred of my townspeople." So opens
this singular and wise testimony. Like all poets, inspired by
death, Thomas Lynch is, unlike others, also hired to bury the dead
or to cremate them and to tend to their families in a small
Michigan town where he serves as the funeral director. In the
conduct of these duties he has kept his eyes open, his ear tuned to
the indispensable vernaculars of love and grief. In these twelve
pieces his is the voice of both witness and functionary. Here,
Lynch, poet to the dying, names the hurts and whispers the
condolences and shapes the questions posed by this familiar
mystery. So here is homage to parents who have died and to children
who shouldn't have. Here are golfers tripping over grave markers,
gourmands and hypochondriacs, lovers and suicides. These are the
lessons for life our mortality teaches us.
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