Luke Wortley


I’m in the habit of imagining my father’s funeral. I wonder how well it will be attended, whether the food at the wake will be healthy or not. I’m not necessarily imagining his death, just his funeral. And it’s a fetid sort of thought process, a winding staircase of disappointment in the way you can’t effectively mourn the dead you barely know past a certain point. And cascading from all this is the choice of whether or not to go, which suit to wear, which human face to adorn. I keep a lineup of them in my closet and try them on from time to time in anticipation of the event. One is a smile dripping upward, the product of eating a favorite meal, the perfect fit for photographs. Another a mask of grief, perfectly proportioned for maximum sadness, beautiful in its own way, the way it will look to all the other onlookers – the broken son staring in remembrance. And still there are more, countless more faces in progressively shaded rows that will never be considered.




Luke Wortley is a writer living in Indianapolis, Indiana. His fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in monkeybicycle, Hobart, Best Microfictions, Pithead Chapel, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter (@LukeWortley) or visit