The Stranger's Funeral

The small ruddy church slouches in the town square.
I am seven trapped within the musky, confining walls;
my legs swing haplessly, as I sit upon the gaudy distorted pew.
This church is old, without the gold leafing, or stained glass,
this church is melancholy, and I count my blessings,
as there is no casket.
I do not think I could gaze upon the frozen figure,
watching my grandmother clasp the inert arthritic hands
of my months-deceased grandfather,
a figure my mind related to affection,
but one with which my heart could not keep a devotion to.
The ceremony ends and in a haze we sheep are ushered outside
And begin to clamor together mute and bleak.
The sun grins, showering us
in rays of heat and boiling the air around our bodies.
Uncle carries the urn within his subdued clutches,
and we, with our family of strangers, lead the procession.
The tomb is open, lying in wait for its next prisoner,
and pristine glinting with a friendly cleanliness,
inconsistent with its purpose.
The urn is passed around;
Lips press to it hungrily,
in a final goodbye.
Guilt wiggles within me
as I watch the tomb close,
feeling nothing but hunger pains.
I walk the foreign streets alone,
lost, a sheep gone astray.
No one told me,
that waiting just outside the graveyard,
were cars to carry us back over the miles we traveled.


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