Funeral Home

by Daniel Hess

A fitting place, this
wood-between-the-worlds,
to say good-bye to friends,
fold the memories—both
pleasant and poignant chords
that answer the hushed
piano music—and gently wrap
it all in one last calm.

It’s all so right but
more so wrong. The
wrongness catches in
the throat, shuffles and hides
in the deep
carpet and loiters
in the somber
drapes. The kindness too
and the rightness are there,

right where they should be
as if they were always
waiting in this timeless
place. Where the music never
stops, but only merges
brightly and dutifully on and
into the next hymn that either
appeared from nowhere in
a moment or else was
always waiting here,

in the walnut paneling,
patiently
for all time, for its allotted
Moment.

Beyond this tranquil place
lie unfamiliar worlds.
And even the world
we thought we knew is
unfamiliar now. Beyond
the quiet, air-conditioned
room, beyond the
upright yew, creeping
juniper and clinging
ivy, the old-world drones on,

like the distant memory
of the neighbor’s garage-kept
lawn mower making it’s early
afternoon rounds, or the ebb
and flow, and regulated
rush of traffic, of cars
and trucks that have important
errands, that always go
and always come, sometimes
show and sometimes hide

the storefront signs
on down that all seem
pointless now, irrelevant.
The bank, the bar, the gym
and all the rest, even the quaint
old knick-knack store holds
neither haunt nor charm.
The eddying scents of the nearby
florist, the baker, and the tire shop
are all one now.

For now, where
time stands still
on this brief moment, this fitting place,
this wood-between-the-worlds.


While often failing to find the right balance in time management and priorities, Daniel Hess delights in finding poetry in unexpected places and the joy of bringing it to life with words.

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