As I uncurled my fingers off the handle,
I stared at the casket, scratched an itch
On my upper lip. Wafting with the movement of my hand,
Was a metallic scent. Ignoring the obvious taste
Of iron laced blood, I pursued the scent
To a handful of pennies. Tossed into a fountain.
(A water spurting oasis, amid the chaos
Of mall pedestrians.)
Day-dreamed of copper swallowed by chlorinated liquid.
Nothing more than drowned wishes,
Screaming for life under the fish-eyed lens
Of bacteria free water.
But under this lens I examined every twitch
The priest made. His neck shuttered
With the spirit of the lord. He turned his sight upwards
Towards a ceiling light. And addressed the bulb
Like it was a burning bush
Promising salvation from its caustic flames.
I must have been deaf.
Because I couldn’t hear anything.
I was there. Living under the same
Of every other parishioner.
Within that moment
That I was living and dying
And during the meal afterward
I said to my father:
“What’s the point of burying the dead?
The worms will eat them anyway.”
He swallowed a bite of fried chicken,
Wiped grease off his lips onto a napkin
“They layer each grave with concrete
To protect them from such decay.”
I sipped my coffee,
Pondered why we protect the dead
With such vigilance. But invest millions
To kill the living.
Granted the dead can’t complain.