“Coffin News” by Philip Theibert

In the winter
in Birmingham
when we were ten
when the trees
were stripped skeletons
we would deliver
the evening paper
passing the coffin factory
closed for the night
coffins propped outside
lids open
varnish drying
hinges shined
we would joke about
tossing a paper in
give the dead
something to read
maybe the comics
no fancy linings yet
that would come in the morning
such care taken for an object
designed to spend
life underground


Philip Theibert has spent his career in the trenches of writing including stints as an executive speechwriter, newspaper reporter, magazine editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer, and author of several books.

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