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Poet, Artist and co-owner of Lasting Images Photography

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Happy Passings

in the South
we always say someone has passed
it’s a much kinder phrase than death
as a child I always imagined
the deceased drifting by
passing us as a parade float might
we could stand and watch
them smile and wave
on their way out of our everyday world
that’s why we were dressed up
because it was a party and afterwards 
people brought cake to the house
my grandmother passed
and in time my parents too
took that Rose Parade journey
though by that time I no longer expected
passing to be an occasion of joy
even if we do wrap it in flowers
the pageantry of death is grim
no bright streamers or balloons,
no raucous music with drums
we dress somberly
we speak softly as if we are trying
to keep the secret of their death from them
most often it is raining
though I have no idea
why that should be true
I rather hope the parade starts on the other side
that someone is as happy 
to see them arrive
as we are sad to see them go
that they get their brass band
and the chance to ride 
in the crepe paper carriage
my childhood fantasy
never followed the procession
farther than my own field of vision
the march was all about me waving goodbye
so where the passing ended up
was a just great mystery
it still is

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