And on this day, this special day, we share our love *** (a wedding song.)
I am alone and cross the bridge without a solid weight of confidence That I am one of the living souls. For those who knew my story, Any tales of derring-do That I may claim, Or seen the pounds I’ve lost or gained — Have mostly gone to their reward — — or punishment — — I suppose. Though to be Frank or Helen I’m not so sure about the bonfire. It seems that Hell on Earth is one strong claim.
The tan suit I have deigned to wear- Defiant of convention and rebuke – Fits just as well as any veil of mourning. I stand out for the hue And cry — not even on the outside. I have exhausted and outlasted all my friends. They have reported to their fates While I still beat, I think, On — against the tide for sure.
No sadness permeates my sponge of faith Here in the queue. With all the rest who pay their last respects. I know of more than one who’ve borne a loss That cuts to the quick - And the dead — - Spouses, and lovers, and children, and the lot, But only relative few Are fortunate? to overlive them all.
The grandchildren do not know me — or the sons and daughters. Though some recall the name that I report as mine - As if it somehow validates my place In their repository — a storage bin - That leaks and freezes through the years Until one day the purge dictates that all Possessions earn a value less than Zero.
My hands shake with a palsy Not of age – Rather — the tremors that I wear With all the flourish of a feathered boa Come to life because my confidence Is so unsure. I used to know my place - But even with a compass mostly moral I cannot be certain where the hell I am.
The elegy I carry in my fragile hand Delineates the way the rite will go – Which scripture reading will be first and last, And where we’ll sing Amazing Grace How sweet?
I had a small retractable Umbrella when I entered here, This vestibule of mourning brightly lit With photo boards on easels tall And straight — as we all were a thousand Years ago.
I know the pastor/reverend/or elder – Someone in a charcoal-colored coat Will lead me tenderly — my elbow grasped As if the path were merely a suggestion. But we all know the station for this train Will disembark next to a casket – Dignified and violet — mahogany without – And if the coffin shan’t hold ashes now We’re sure it will in time – If not Yours, then we guess in mine – (the Time, I mean.) We share the deed to time And pay installment-like, with haggled terms Made firm by bankers keyless of the vault.
But I go on. My feet are heavy, obstinate in fact, And they would cancel each leg of this trip.
I do not wish to say a last good-bye. I’ve had enough of death — and welcome mine If it will circumvent the dreadful climb To see the face of those who’ve left betimes.
At last, I reach the kneeler at the box, And do what I’m compelled To do each time a little bit of love Is ripped away before I’ve had my fill.
I’m shaking harder now, and I’m afraid That I’ve not done enough – Will I be laid — to rest — before I know My debt is paid?
I’m not sure what I owe, but I do know why. The trip has been more lovely than I’ve earned Despite the stains that take the gaze away From all the pretty colors.
This autopsy for me impatiently Thrust out its meaty paw and wouldn’t wait Until the countdown reached the blast off point. The cause and manner — let’s be honest With ourselves at least — are always known:
The cause is cold mortality; the manner, expiration.