The Epitaph

new graveIt is time to order your gravestone.
I have put this off for 15 weeks now
(the weather was a good excuse —
you can’t pry open the frozen ground).

A sturdy wreath of flowers
and a durable assembly of roses
have acted as the stand-in,
elevating you, making it easier to spot you
through all the winter whiteness
on the ground.

But this last Nor’easter has finally collapsed
those tidy arrangements
(they boasted such life,
but like you, have succumbed to the inevitable).
Their pitiful petals and moldy, drab colors
are not fit to decorate your grave anymore, sweet one.

So I have leveled off your resting spot
and re-arranged your toys and trinkets.
Suddenly it is clear to me how very buried you are.
There is a noticeable drop in height
as I bend over and kiss the flat ground.

But a new season is on our heels,
soon the earth will make itself available,
and I will find you a stone or a statue,
a pillar or a shrine,
some immovable piece of marble
to reign sovereign in the face of my howling.

But the epitaph still looms.

What can you say about a soul who went home
in a hearse instead of a car seat?

For 15 weeks it’s haunted me,
to find the perfect prayer or blessing or declaration of love

But all I can come up with is
You’re Dead
You’re Dead
You’re Dead–

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