High and Hanover — 2045



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

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.



For Better or Verse — Poetry Month 2023 et al.

Philip J. Repko, Ian C. Repko, and Philip E. Repko have been fiddling with words for more than a few years. Here we shall periodically contribute.