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Death of the Prodigal



There he kneels, the old man,
Still, staring at the headstone,
Boring holes into the fresh patch of earth
Between the plastic hearts, wicker wreaths,
Flowers doomed never to die,
Perched on three thin metal legs.
I wonder, is his heart perched there
Among them, waiting for a strong wind
To push it away
To keep vigil at some other stone?

…Run, kill the fatted calf,
The one we’ve fed for such an occasion,
For the returning prodigal;
Cook it and bury it deep
Beside the resting child,
A feast for the damned…

He rises, crosses the freshly-cut green
Growing between the graves;
I smile as he passes, and he tells me,
“He was my son, but he was a Philistine.
He was a Philistine, but he was my son.”
As if it were my heart, I offer
My hand, a token, but he continues
Past, weaves between the stones,
Making a cross at each one, and like a prayer
Says again, “He was my son…”

© Sean Taylor
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Submitted by seanhtaylor on May 20, 2021

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Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor writes short stories, novellas, novels, graphic novels and comic books (yes, Virginia, there is a difference between comic books and graphic novels, just like there's a difference between a short story and a novel). In his writing life, he has directed the “lives” of zombies, super heroes, goddesses, dominatrices, Bad Girls, pulp heroes, and yes, even frogs, for such diverse bosses as IDW Publishing, Gene Simmons, and The Oxygen Network. He also posts religious and political content from time to time. But not nearly as much as writing content. Between horror movies and cartoons, that is. Visit him online at www.thetaylorverse.com and www.badgirlsgoodguys.com (or follow his faith blog at www.filthyragsanddirtycups.blogspot.com). [He, Him] more…

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    "Death of the Prodigal" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 6 Dec. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/100486/death-of-the-prodigal>.

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