Mourning Poem


death makes me want to shut down, shut up, shut in and be a child again;
one who doesn’t understand what it meant when grandpa P passed
and mom and dad said he’s in heaven,
one who got excited for him and hoped he’d write a letter and tell me what heaven is like
and for a few weeks whenever we would be in the car I looked at the clouds
hoping I would catch him peeking over and wave to him.
all I want is to be that same child
pulling out plastic figurines and directing toy battles on the carpet with my brother
with an evil boss and his entourage of saber-toothed tigers running and leaping on the hero and his knights and army men.
and even though many of them fall, in the very last moment the good guys win the fight,
killing the boss and his dinosaur minions… and yet, they were never really dead.
as soon as they went into the Tupperware container and the lid snapped shut and opened again, everything was as it should be,
because everyone died, but everyone came to life again to play their timeless part
and even the bad guys got a break…but it’s not like that, and people stay dead
the good and the bad die, the heroes get old and have strokes, and the villains get pneumonia
and I miss them both because the bad never got to know what it felt like to be good, to be loved, to be the hero, to be in heaven.
and I miss the good, because they were good, and it’s selfish and I don’t care because I wish they were here until we could all go together.
but that’s not how it works and grandpa P isn’t in the clouds and I’m never going to see some of those people again.
and I want to cry, but I don’t,
I stare vacantly remembering and wishing I was a kid again;
where none of this mattered, where none of it hurt,
where people like Florence get healed of her breast cancer and where husbands like Danny still got to still sleep next to her at night and hope for the future where somehow they could still be together
and not have to bury his wife
and I tell my own wife “it’s times like these that people get angry at God, when instead they should be running to him,”
and as I say it, I feel myself getting angry.

In mourning


Everything around me
looks like a children’s picture-book now
and this is how it’s going to be
and this is how it’s going to be seem
until all the Pulitzer’s come back from Hawaii,
with their pens between their lips
and their suitcases bursting like the ocean.
This is how it is, in mourning.

There was a day when you smiled,
with your mouth that had two lips,
two peeled peaches, opening and closing
like the heartbeat of a hotel lobby.
There was a day when you sat perched, quite remarkably,
on a rung of the great wooden ladder,
that stretched upwards, like your arms, to the boardroom of Trinity,
where three wise men sat, and drank red wine very slowly.
There was a moment, quite suddenly,
when you declined their invitation
and stepped down from the slippery-slide to glory
with your hair a dripping mess.

Surely this makes the six o’clock news, I thought
But the novelists had already boarded the plane.

There was a day of endless superlatives,
of Latin and prefix and light.
Half torn now in front of me, the mundane are setting up camp,
so I’ll wait, until the real world that came attached to your hip
calls up its publisher and says, ‘’it’s time, I’m coming home.’’