Still Obedience

A poem
by John Grey
What about the black dress,
surely stripped right from the angel of death?
And the black roses,
their petals like melanomas
plucked from the skin of the corpse?
And the tombstone,
like a child crouched down,
abandoned in the graveyard
to the biting wind, the freeze?
What about? What about?
Questions feel like the last gasp of civilization
as the box is lowered into the earth,
the priest intones even deeper than the hole is dug,
mourners go the teary route
while calling out God under their breath.
It’s a young boy’s first funeral
and everything he knows about familiar people
is disappearing before his eyes.
Does his mother really love that red-faced man?
And what of his father?
He hasn’t looked that sour
since he placed those ill-conceived football bets.
What about his cousins,
unseen since a wedding in June?
And his uncle, the eldest of the brothers remaining,
surely next for the coffin and that unforgiving pit?
It’s his first exposure to something that isn’t entirely life.
He was told beforehand to stay perfectly still and not say a thing.
But it’s not just him.
Everyone here seems under orders.
Obeying instructions is nothing new.
But to be in the company of obedience itself.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Cape Rock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott serves as an editor for The Peregrine Muse, Happy Hour Hallelujah, and Novelmasters.

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