Hazel's Funeral

In the quiet of the winter,
in the chapel of
the nursing home
she lies.

The blue-fire of her eyes
put out; lids sealed.
Her wild hair finally
tamed to curls.
Pink paints her cheeks.
A gathering of flowers
to the side,
its vigil keeps.

A second pastel gathering
of women coincides.
As silently
they keep their places.
Used to waiting.
Faces fading.
Hazel's neighbor ladies
on the Alzheimers hall.

The priest who never came
to see her speaks,
a stained-glass-window voice.
His eyes,
between the collar
and the careful hair,
stay focused just above their faces
in the air.

The ritual completed then,
he scurries off,
he flees.

Strung together,
like the beads on
Stella's rosary,
a tangling of arms between,
they make a halting
small procession to
the diningroom for tea
and lemoncake and crumbs
of conversation.

"Look at all the funeral cars."
As Myrtle points to the
employee parking lot.

"My husband's buried here."
Ann's shoulders fall.

"What cemetary is this?
Forest Hills?" asks Evelyn.

Edna glares,
"Those are my glasses she has on!"

"My sister baked this cake.
It's dry." Clara complains.

"I'm all fed up!" Myrtle declares.

"You're fat." And Jenny laughs
behind the cover of her hand.

Clara starts to cry.
"She was my favorite sister."

Stella sleeps
her breathing softly falls
and rises in a dream.

Edna wipes her mouth and screams
"Call a cab!
Let's all go home."

-- Deb Cooper

Send Comments to Greg Gordon MD, CFI, cydoc@earthlink.net
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