Elegy of the Bereaved
In the terrifying absolutism of worn grey carpets
and LifeSaver mints,
gatekeepers of loss, white pillars and pews,
I see age in the aged at once
and realize whose tears force my own.
Surrounded by slowing and silver-headed
I bathe in acceptance of serial bereavement.
Condolence unasked-for, paid in tears,
strangers’ sympathy cane sugar thick
constitutes theft of grief through
overtures of faith from those unknown.
Family faces unfamiliar to me
mark cares and cares not
of the departed,
filial fires subjugated to whims of nostalgia.
I listen to memories not mine
I hear of faith and charity
Where is reality?
Enraged at erasure and how
“absent from the body”
buys absolution from nuance
and forfeiture of responsibility.
Last of the Greatest Generation,
first of manufactured aristocracy.
Dignified in her disdain
slow to change.
Ninety minutes for ninety years,
highlights chosen by the Favored.
Complex, noxious, personal grief
conscripted to generality.
Celebration of life, the celebrants
those who were perfect.
The absent grieve alone
for alone they suffered her.
Hymn, eulogy, eternity,
benediction to bless who remains.
Shuffling out, mourners fast forgetting,
eager to celebrate the Next.