poem16 Jan 2017 08:43 am


Day 1

So much noise,
so much hurry.
Tires screech and I land
like a discarded feather,
face up,
eyes toward the stars.

Motor sounds swirl,
dragging red streamers.
The air is warm,
the pavement warmer.
The night grows sharp
as the body snatchers arrive.

Faces hover.
I feel pressure,
here and there.
Their hurry dissipates.
In their eyes
I’m already dead.

I don’t blame them.
How are they to know?
They are merely
collecting karma
for their next incarnation.
I’m grateful to oblige.

They wrap me in cloth,
gentle as an infant.
They offer prayers,
then lift me into a minivan.
Fingers brush across my eyes,
the night becomes permanent.

Day 2

The morgue,
as silent as a library,
as dark as a dreamless sleep.
It allows me
the necessary time
to find order in my life.

I wasn’t the best husband,
the best father,
the best person
I could have been,
but in my heart
I tried.

It is said there is shame
in inaction,
to take what is given
and carelessly throw it away.
For this
I am guilty.

But I did not love any less,
I did not desire any less,
my failing
was in not knowing.
For this
I am guilty.

And though I had abandoned
everything I’d known,
and had become homeless
in every sense of the word,
I hope I leave in my absence
more than I have taken.

I hear the attendants come and go.
Bodies are removed,
bodies delivered.
It begins to smell like flowers,
flowers more fragrant than memory.
I am hopeful.

Day 3

I can no longer hear.
I merely sense the ebb and flow
of energies,
the monks from the monasteries
chanting prayers
for the lost and the damned.

It is said
when the body and brain
cease to function,
the mind is the last to depart,
the mind lingers
to ensure safe passage.

All my life
I was in a race with time.
If I didn’t succeed,
or meet a certain expectation,
I thought I had failed.
I was wrong.

Time is insubstantial.
What matters is happiness.
In happiness lies all truth,
all understanding.
In happiness lies the gift of love,
to give and to receive.

The chanting enters my consciousness
in waves so perfect
it is as if I have become part
of a great chorus,
one that only the voice of death
can sing.

My eyelids become translucent.
I can see each helpful soul,
their heart beating
like a miniature furnace,
each holding a candle
to light the way home.

Most of all
I smell flowers,
beautiful potent
undying flowers,
of a scent beyond description,
beyond ethereal.

The moment approaches,
like a gentle wind.
The fragrance multiplies.
I let the wind take me.
I am at peace at last.
I fill with joy.

By Kusakabe Kimbei – http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/meiji/05071624_20-1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10477501

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