Poem 20150105

The coffin was too large for her
She lay there like a doll
Make-up that she could not apply
Not for the last few years
Rosy on her cheeks
Hair smooth and washed and clean

Her face but not her face

Mom had to be led away slowly
Sobbing how she looked so small
And the chapel seemed like a joke
Like a facade you would see
At Disneyland
Almost real but not just

The only thing that saved the day
Was the aunt who insisted on
Taking a flower from the grave
And almost fell into the gaping hole
Waiting to receive my grandmother

The opposite was true for his funeral

He was big even in the coffin
And they said
It would be closed
But it wasn’t at first
Even through the chapel doors
You could see him
And at any second he would sit up
And turn with his eyes glued shut
And his mouth plugged tight
And accuse
Announce his disappointment
From beyond the grave

Weeks later in a dream
He stood before me
Without a shirt
Standing for some reason
In his old apartment in Santa Ana
His stomach fish belly white
And covered in dark hair
A Y incision hastily sewn up
Over his chest

It was all a mistake he said

But I woke not knowing what he meant
And not believing him anyway