Funeral for a girl who grew up in the woods (or at the root)

After Hernan Bas’ At the root of his thinking (or the pink blossom)


I overdress to be outdoors. Pork pie. Right-handed buttons. Black tie slack lined down my chest. Nobody has died, but somebody has died. & I want to remember her name so I can swiss army carve it into bark, so I can say a word above her grave, set deep and bellied in an uprooted tree. White birch, genderless swatch, sloughing to pinkraw. Roots reach for sky—tongues still try to catch rain. I know half of what it means to die slowly. To feel specific thirst. If this is a rural funeral, I’ll turn the sunflowers to lampposts, the mountain to a procession of wrecked black cars, wet pine metallic, rubber burning. I’ll turn my hands urban, my body man. My wallet will brim with opposites, a prayer card with a girl’s name, psalm I’ll feel in what’s left of my womb. What is it to visit your own grave? To die & be more alive than ever? I want to tell me I miss me. I want to tell me, I’m never coming back.


Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Off, forthcoming with YesYes Books. They also serve as the non-fiction editor of the Black Warrior Review and are published or forthcoming in Rattle, Puerto del Sol, Booth, CutBank, Muzzle, The New Orleans Review, and others. You can read more of their work at