At The Viewing

Peering inside the awful box

where the remains of an ancient uncle lay

overdressed and painted like a floozy,

I realized the conceit of morticians;


The pallid skin is spackled

a florid tint and sunken cheeks pinked

to comfort the family with the appearance of sleep,

but the hair parted wrong catches the greiving eye

and testifies that no matter how peaceful he looks,

he doesn’t look himself beacause he’s not;

himself is not just dead but gone.


All that’s left wears the wrong pair of glasses

perched on his nose forevermore

–not prescription but readers–

suggesting time and books wait on the far shore,

thus turning comfort curious

and prompting me to wonder;

what’s he reading now?


© dana hughes 4.10.14

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