Friday, April 29, 2016

"When They Come To Take The Body"

In honor of National Poetry Month, I have posted poems by special poets each Monday, wonderful song lyrics each Wednesday, and work by myself each Friday (previously here, here, and here). I'm closing the month with a brand new piece called "When They Come To Take The Body."

When They Come To Take The Body

When they come to take the body away
and bring in the gurney, mass of yellow metal legs,
a hard, foreign structure in the living room
of soft sofa and chairs, a bookcase of ceramic angels,
what do you do then? Do you say goodbye even though
you already have a thousand times?

When they place the body in the heavy vinyl bag
and you hear the sickening sound of the zipper closing,
do you let out a hiss of air or do you make a sound like
an animal caught in a trap, unable to escape or change its fate?

And when they wheel the bag out the front door and
it closes, seals behind them like a tomb, what can you
possibly do that will have any meaning?
What action can you possibly take?
Clean the house? Leave it all? Pace
like an automaton or just sit and stare
at the shimmering air where the body used to be?
What feels right or best? What difference does
any of it make in that house now, alone?

Finally, you should get some sleep.
Does that have any meaning?
Do you sleep with a night light not because you are afraid of the dark
but because you can't stand the thought of the dark itself?
You should try to get some sleep because you have to be at
the funeral home in a few hours to make some decisions
that won't seem real or relevant.
And how can you return to the house and
what will you really do then?

©JEF 2016

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