Wednesday, February 17, 2021

He put the Fun in Funeral

The alarm clock went off in the dark
and we woke up in the mourning in the black sheets. 

We pulled off our black pajamas 

pulled back the black drapes 

and looked out 

side by side, tears in our eyes 

at the dark sky — 

black clouds smoldering over 

like charcoal briquets, too cold to burn. 

We took our showers in silence

(separately, naturally—out of respect)

dried off, made some black coffee and toast 

and we burned it black.

We let the Black Lab out back to pee 

then it was time to go to his funeral. 

We walked out together to the car 

but I couldn’t open the doors 

let alone start the engine 

because, as I told her, 

I couldn’t find the keys. I’d lost them. 

“Sorry for your loss,” she said. 

The keys were found of course so we 

drove off toward some kind of a church.

Along the way, down the street, me 

driving the speed limit, both of us 

respectfully, appropriately (etc. etc.) silent, 

I tastefully selected “Amazing Grace” for music. 

Next, I suggested “Hallelujah” for the CD player

but she opted for “Paint it Black.” She got it. 

I drove gently into the church 

parking lot, we tiptoed inside. 

Up front a man in a black suit and all of us in a black

mood did what we were supposed to be doing in a 

church like that then we all went on out to the grave. 

The sky was changing. The earth was moving. 

His tombstone rose out of the earth as we approached  

because it’s round and then—and then!—we read it. 

Under his name and the dates was the one sentence

                IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!  

We heard something and looked up.

The sky was suddenly bright blue corduroy pants 

with a silver (in the lining) zipper, WIDE WHALES 

full of hungry, happy, horny fish, swimming wild and 

when the sky unzipped all the way across the world: 

                       There they were, 

        we saw them. In the blue bubbles. 

                  Swimming right to us. 

We saw all of the people that we had ever loved, 

all the ones that still loved us (had never even stopped!) 

and all the other ones who had always wanted to 

but somehow couldn’t get quite close enough. 

   Now everything was close. But not too close, 

        like a grave. Or a church, God forbid. 

                           Wide open. 

The funeral homes and churches were converted  

into cocktail lounges, Japanese restaurants, 

and Deep Sea Dive Shops. 

Even the Black Lab turned blue and ran off 

with a school of fish because it’s never too late. 

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