I put down my prayer book
and sifted through a wave
of fresh mourners
gathering at a nearby grave.
I didn’t stop to ask
who’d died, I didn’t wait
for the eight pallbearers
lurching toward us
with a casket in their hands,
I didn’t even pause to wonder
about a young woman
lifting her veil
and applying lipstick
under a long-limbed sycamore
by the side of the road.
For once, I didn’t look back.
The dying goes on, it never stops,
there was a new procession
of black sedans
winding down the lane,
but I didn’t hesitate
to step around them
on my mission to leave
these hallowed grounds.
I felt so liberated
I couldn’t help waving
to a group of teenagers
blasting music
and drinking beer in the parking lot
behind the chapel.