John Kucera


My mother claims to recall no pain
from her 24 hours of labor.

It was easy.

I wonder sometimes
if she is trying to convince herself
I was worth the epidural, and everything after—the wall I built between her and Dad

with my crying, the nights I used to wake them, age eight or nine, with the question:
What happens when we die? Maybe this

keeps happening. Maybe I keep crossing
at the same intersection, pass by the Super
America, no visible breath, no pulse. Maybe I turn left
at Hum’s Liquors, and before sitting down alone
at that coffee shop we used to go to,
I’ll look back at Hennepin Methodist,
still undergoing renovation in the afterlife, its thin

cracking the scaffolds, not quite touching the sky.