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The Father.

By Jillard, Eveleth, MN

He's nothing more than an exoskeleton; an empty shell of what once was.
He's standing, somehow, lighting a cigarette with quivering hands. It's a church, but no one says anything; afraid, I suppose.
He looks dead.
Died along with his son.

It's a closed casket. Few people remain, the ceremony over, talking quietly amongst themselves. They leave him alone. No expressed condolences; no sympathetic handshakes.

If someone touches me, I'll scream. He thinks. He digs his overgrown nails deep into his palms, close to drawing blood. If they talk to me, look at me, I'll scream, and I'll never stop.
It's a message portrayed loud and clear. They mingle, walk around, enjoy their complementary egg salad sandwiches and lemon bars, but they keep their distance.

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