Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Neighbour's Grief

we gather like wolves at dawn,
clad and clawed;
grief rises early.
we hunt in the clouds
for lofty words,
hungry for meaning --
like starved vultures
pecking at a festering corpse,
constructing careful combinations,
rummaging our vocabularies,
pilfering phrases from books,
composing eloquent speeches,
seeking the aristocratic elegance
of that balanced sentence --
i'm so sorry ...
bad way to go ...
my condolences ...
fate --
whose polished weight would appear
neither hospital-maudlin
nor fossil-dry.

we hug, pat and

shake grave hands,
doused in a post-lunch psychedelia
of soberness and sorrow;
when tears spill,
we let them bounce
on our generous,
laundried, silk shoulders.
we speak whispers,
tracking conversations,
noting down a phrase or two
for next time,
preening when others struggle
and stutter,
gloating over the skeletal awkwardness
of their gawky emotions,
keeping score --
Oh! She was over the top;
What was she going on about?
Why was he so cold?


mourning, we walk out,
backs hunched from the exhaustion
of everyday grief,
gathering our slippers
and umbrellas -- what if it rains?
in time to catch the 6 PM bus,
pondering take-away pizza and
the office meeting tomorrow.