“Are you dead or are you sleeping?”
What deadened implication glorifies all the suicides autumn facilitates?
Or are children translating the language of dirt for mud?
I guess, what reincarnation guarantees
Is a spot inside a cyclical need to conform.
So when I heard he died from an overdose
A choir of plastic droppers
Whistled through a hollow injection.
And we trusted sitcoms to teach us about
Life & Death.
When his mother began whispering into her shoulder
I pretended he was faded,
Leaning on her collarbone
Using a stoned wit
To narrate the colors of dead things.
I watched his specter slog a pile of leaves
Across his grave-
Inducing multicolored foliage
To spread and flake like organic confetti.
But Father Tony reminded me that was impossible
Because he was in Heaven.
And as he explained why
I licked away plaque
From the hind of my ivories,
The process seemed a better use of the muscles
Than employing small talk learned from various sitcoms.
He finished his speech by declaring,
“Each death has a purpose.”
I confided in him
That a Noble Lie is always better than the truth.
I said goodbye to his mother.
“Was he happy when he died?”
An eavesdropping Father Tony asked,
“Would that bring closure?”
Before she could respond
I mentioned, “Yes, yes, yes.”
And even God remained silent.