To Our Executor (first draft) – Tom Barlow

Our will is stored with our attorney, as is our power of attorney, health power of attorney, living will, all those documents that old people need to avoid becoming Methuselah on a ventilator. We leave a house full of treasures that our son’s widow has done nothing to deserve, having only visited us twice in eleven years and never even a Christmas card, so please arrange for a burial plot at least thirty feet square, hire a backhoe to dig it out eight feet deep, and bury all those treasures with us. (They say you can’t take them with you, but what is it going to hurt us to try? We’ll be dead already anyway.) Our headstones should be substantial; not tall as Stonehenge, not carved as elaborately as Mt. Rushmore, but readable from a few hundred yards away. Set up spotlights as needed, arrange a sound track that plays all day, every day, with such music as will glorify our lives but not incur royalties or complaints from the neighbors. Have the Ohio Department of Transportation add a freeway sign directing visitors to the site. Make sure Google notes it in its Maps app. Pave a parking lot next to it with space enough for fifty cars. Arrange for a restaurant across the road so people can dine while taking in our grave site; a Cracker Barrel would do, as the rocking chairs on their porch would provide a comfortable view. You don’t need to build an airplane runway, that would be “over the top,” but a diorama of the site placed near baggage claim at John Glenn International Airport would be appropriate. (See if the local tourism board will share that expense.)

As a token of our appreciation, you may keep the cats.

Tom BarlowTom Barlow is an Ohio author of poetry, short stories and novels. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies including PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Aji, The New York Quarterly, and many more. See more at