The funeral is open casket.
Or open aquarium, I should say; they used a fifty-gallon aquarium to hold him.
A lot of it is not him — evaporation and all. With mathematical calculations (based on how tall and round he’d been), they’d estimated how much tap water to add.
There, next to the aquatic coffin, on the satin pillow beneath the wreath: a button, two chunks of coal, and there — forgive me, I’m getting choked up — there is his good ol’ corncob pipe.
My tears are mixing with his remains.
Well, you know, someday every man must lose his magic hat.
Nicholas Ozment teaches English at Winona State University. He regularly publishes in the SF small press.