It’s Spring so let’s think about death…

Daylight-Saving-TimFinally. Daylight Savings Time has arrived (right on schedule), and it has an officially recognized moniker – DST. We’ve all lost an hour of sleep we could ill afford, and so, of course, my thoughts turn to death, dying and all things funereal. (Yes, that’s a word – a very good word used of the mournful and somber character befitting funeral pageantry.)

A friend named Pat – a good Irishman if there ever was one – died one Spring day a few years ago. He was supposed to die three or four times before he actually did, but that doesn’t matter when it finally, finally happens. I visited him like a pastor would (should) visit someone like Pat, until there were no more visits.

He Died Today

It’s been years, too many,
far removed from laughs
and tears of caretaking and
taking care of a flock that
was never mine but minded
me; to hear that he’s gone
after starting his last fight
so long ago and doing it
right by undoing petty things
with gentleness; my friend’s
heart has stopped and
started, fits and fought
but not for naught he
gained a decade of life
he made surviving an art
from that first Eve’s eve
night, fighting off death
with tears of Irish fears;
and today, a message left
that death’s theft took
Pat leaving me wondering
that this is all I have to
say because another part
of me died today.

Have you ever noticed the carpeting at funeral homes? I have. The typical pattern is named Afshan Disperse in the funeral homes I’ve visited.

Afshan Disperse

After the greetings,
hugs and handshakes and embraces;
after the waiting and viewing and that
moment (not too short or too long)
of silent, somber lingering or kneeling,
and turning once again to the living
for that awkward ‘Good to see you’
but not under these circumstances
and gather once again with someone,
anyone you might know or should,
you find your way to a seat to wait
in the quiet. What do you notice?
Well I look down
to the carpeting and take careful note
of the patterns or designs and colors;
because I’ve seen at least a hundred
funeral home carpets and more to come,
either arboreal and muted, turkman calm
arabesque faded, even bushy but mild,
never geometrical and never simple
but if one looks carefully and follows
there is always repetition in some feature;
it’s not plain or textured or bright or bold,
but able to hide blemishes.
Head bowed in sulking
not in prayer or pollyannaish thoughts;
even as an adult I compare all these carpets
with the first I saw in my eleventh summer
when I spent two days in tears and scared
with my dad in the casket, adults weeping;
sick of weak tea and toast and shrugs,
promises of comfort that were never fulfilled;
it was an afshan disperse, blue and ecru
random scatter of motifs unrepeated,
disconnected and I searched for order
and patterns in hope but I found none.
and I searched for order and connections
patterns and hope but I found none.

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