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  The Garland

Duy Huynh

I would like to be laid to rest in a big tomb topped by a stone figure of an angel, who appears to have landed there in order to sob forevermore,

her face buried in her bent arm,

one folded wing hanging by her side.


Then, whenever I found the time to visit my own grave,

after approaching with slow, respectful steps,

I would place around her rough neck

the garland of wildflowers that I knitted,

then run back to the car, laughing and immortal!

I’m a big fan of cemeteries, especially those featuring stone angels topping the monuments in various positions of mourning and grief. Then using the imaginative leeway offered by poetry, I invested myself with the startling power to bring flowers to my own grave. The first stanza expresses a last wish, which survivors must grant, but in the little manic drama of the second stanza the speaker becomes immortal. He runs off at the end, having cheated death.

—BILLY COLLINS

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