This Business Of Dying
When we die society dumps us
into the obligatory 6 feet of ground.
Or - for the faint of heart -
seals us away in marble
crypts, To save money,
they place us on a funeral pyre
as they barbecue us to cinders.
Who would recognize you in that state?
(A woman opens the urn
and takes a sniff. Yes, that’s him.
That’s my Harry.)
With our last exhalation,
We become something to hide,
a secret, shunned.
Think of all the people who’ve tread
upon this planet. Endless.
What do we do with them?
We have plundered the Earth
along with all the plastic detritus
of our lives. Recycling doesn’t exist,
just accrual upon accrual,
the garbage barge
no one owning it.
(I don’t know where my garbage
goes when they take it away, ”
exclaims a middle-aged woman.)
We kid ourselves.
How many of us will they force
into the gorge today?
Now, here’s the pragmatism
of the human race:
One look at a globe will tell you
Earth bears more water than land.
Who knows how many bones
fill the ground below our feet?
Like a claustrophobic crawl
through Paris catacombs;
skeletons from the French Revolution
crunching underfoot until a sudden grotto;
skulls and bones decorating
the walls like a salon.
(Prostitutes and fugitives
use the cold, damp Parisian catacombs today,
says a reporter from the Travel Channel.)
What happens to the life force that inhabited
Our now mummified remains?
We die and separate from ourselves.
We leave ourselves all over the place,
Even if we’re just ash.
And survivors must dispose of us
immediately like unwanted evidence.
They produce a flourish
labeled a funeral.
They pour out of the church
And after the last prayer,
after the last dying flower thrown,
they grin as if to say, “Dead people?
What dead people? ”
and meet afterward for catered food.
They buried our shells.
Scientists have discovered a section
of the brain that actualizes
as our corporeal selves shut down -
the spark of the divine?
Indulgent angels hasten us
off to see the Wizard
and we remember we knew them before.
And the angels with their golden auras
and all encompassing wings guided us
into a physical format, watched us become matter
and spurred our birth. And now -
after the Grand Test - they deliver us from evil.