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Brian Harman

To the Priest Who Stole the Eulogy
I Wrote for My Uncle’s Funeral

Standing, kneeling, sitting on repeat
on a front row pew at a church
in Riverside, California, with welled tears
in my eyes after my heart was gutted
the day before at my uncle's open casket
viewing, I was in shock when I heard
the priest plagiarize to family and friends
in mourning, the eulogy I had written
about my uncle, that I was about to
deliver minutes later, that the church
strangely requested I email to them
earlier that morning, so they could get
an idea of who my uncle was, which
I blasphemously learned the real reason
was so the priest could thieve my words,
my sorrow, my full on sentences as if
it was his own sermon, and when the priest
stammered and ad libbed “Carlos loved
Pepsi… Pepsi is life… ” I couldn't help
but shake my head at the absurdity,
and I looked around and saw my cousin
did the same – yes, my uncle loved Pepsi,
he drank a liter everyday with extra ice
to the very top, yes, Pepsi was a big part
of his life, but I wouldn't go so far as to say
it was life itself, unless I worked for
Pepsi or I was in a Pepsi commercial –
and my family sat sadly bewildered as
the priest made up some other random facts
about my uncle, the only consolation,
I guess it broke the ice of heavy hearts
hanging in the air, but still, what the fuck
happened to the sacred covenant, oh
father of snakes and bullshit, the eighth
commandment, Thou shall not steal,
you holy fucker.

Brian Harman is a poet living in Southern California. He received his MFA in creative writing from Cal State University, Long Beach. His work has been published in Chiron Review, Misfit Magazine, Nerve Cowboy, and elsewhere. He is the author of Suddenly, All Hell Broke Loose!!! (Picture Show Press). He loves craft beer, creating music playlists, and writing poetry into the night.


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