A Wake

by Robert Lowes

Robert Lowes

The son, husband, father, grandfather,
uncle, brother and friend to many
holds still for eternity’s camera, eyes
mashed shut by the supernova flash.
Images on a big screen automate
memory: baseball cap, wedding suit,
bass boat, oxygen tank. Other faces
flashing by match those roaming the aisles,
clustering, scattering, catching up
on retirements, stents, tomato patches,
grandkids. Little boys and girls romp
in the hall, hiding and seeking, their future
all cherries and apples. Laughter
everywhere, bleeding freely as it should.

The saddest person in the funeral home,
its director, in his cramped paneled office,
whose hangdog face suggests he’s waiting
for us to leave so he won’t miss his favorite
show at nine. But then, he’s witnessed
generations of grief, lovefests, truces
between sisters, bodies like this one,
when they stood around other caskets.
He knows the backstories, who cheats,
and everyone knows he drinks on the job.
It’s a small rural town, dying, shunned
by its high school grads and McDonalds.
Does he frown because there isn’t enough
dying to stay open? I hate meeting his eyes.

Last updated August 02, 2022