At the Funeral
Waiting in the car park, we plug our silence
by comparing crematoriums; agree we prefer
our rural Barham to this urban location,
as if the departing soul might lose its way amongst
the superstores and industrial units.
Her relatives begin to gather, but I do not get out of the car ,
as at the sight of them I have reverted to the only child
who still feels outnumbered by large families.
The hearse glissades to the entrance, our cue to position
ourselves on the edges of the other mourners.
Notice of her husbandís death, arrived like a brick
through the window of our Saturday evening.
Her sister advising me to give it a few days,
then send a brief text. My simple sentences
immediately acknowledged by five kisses - then silence-
His death had struck her down like a stroke,
frozen her vitality, stopped her words.
Their once-open house becoming a fortress now
against the clumsy embraces of sympathisers
who would bruise rather than comfort.
Two days before the funeral, a text from her ,
as if a temporary skin had covered the wound allowing
a few lines; Sad times. So much to do. You will be there?
I struggle for soft words that will not start the tears
haemorrhaging again; she responds with five
kisses - then silence -
Now suddenly she breaks through the third wall of the
funeral proceedings; comes amongst us, I half turn
my head away from the car crash of her grief,
that has robbed her face of its default laughter,
because even as kids I do not ever recall seeing her cry.
She sobs without inhibition, croaking out a Thanks for
to each friend or relative, augmented by a heartfelt hug .
Each person seeming to find the right words,
but I am ambushed by this abandonment of funeral protocol
have nothing prepared, so can only mumble sympathetic sounds.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Fiona Sinclair
would be pleased to hear them.