Pallbearer

by Edward Doerr


My fingers wrap around
cool bronze
as frigid as the body within
this doomed receptacle,
this treasure chest of grief

I walk alongside the rolling tomb
looking like a sad clown
my face stoic
my body movements wooden
my carefully calculated steps
filled with dread
because each step closer
to the humorless crater
that my aunt will reside in
for the rest of her lonesome eternity
solidifies the realization
that I have been avoiding

Burial is dismissal
is memory loss
is the promise of silent, forgotten promises

We say this whole circus is a celebration of life
but, truth be told, reminiscence is
too painful
too much to tolerate
it’s so much easier to dismiss
this cancer of memory
than to embrace it

The lumbering tomb
comes to a rolling stop —
consumes memory in a
brilliant fire flash of destruction —
but no one seems to notice
the architecturally sound
promises of remembrance
(that we’ve carefully stacked
on top of one another)
fall with a deafening, noiseless crash

We merely wipe away our tears
and make empty promises
that we know we cannot keep


Copyright © 2008 by Edward Doerr

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