Country Music
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Patrick Culliton

from My Book Report on the Afterlife


She’s the intro to “Honky Tonk Women.”
Before the guitar enters. Before big Buzz

starts dancing like a backhoe
at my sister’s wedding, 240 steaks in

a conga line, pissing on treetops,
and the priest collapsing during Communion.

Before Uncle Ray’s apology in the hot
boxed garage for sloshing over the Christmas

tree eleven years prior. It must suck for him
to categorize everything he did with cancer

before its diagnosis. Like being handed lead
stopwatches by the boxful.

Before we took our first collaborative shower
and I helped her into fishnets.

Before the umbrella nicked MoMo’s head
and everyone laughed until she fell.