When I think about the day of my father’s funeral
I’m reminded of the poetry reading I gave in grad school,
and how it seemed so unreal to me that so many talented writers
would want to hear what I have to say about me,
the world seemed to stop moving, the birds seemed to stop singing,
and everybody seemed to stop breathing, I mean I could have been
talking to popsicle stick headstones in a Play-Doh cemetery encased
under a dome of plastic wrap. I was painting myself.
Standing up there at the podium and reading his eulogy
to countless teachers and administrators he’d worked with
during his career as a principal,
I must have looked like an educational consultant giving a presentation,
in my tie I bought at the thrift store just hours before, for a buck.
the speed-ramped scene stuffy and metallic and white and black
like my parent’s wedding party,
where my brother and I snapped their ring boxes at each other
like they were miniature felt-lined Pac-Man,
the family drama still playing larger than life, cue the drone camera
to sweep right from the tables and accelerate over the golf course,
everybody seated, everybody so still and serious, fade out over the
heavenly lake and, cut. There’s nothing new about wanting a nice view
to say everything.
Which is why back in the funeral home, the reverend who gave the sermon
was surprised when I raised my hand, and reminded him I had
a few words to say, and could I have his pulpit for a minute.
We enthusiastically traded seats like we were kids playing “Simon Says”
in class, as I thought to myself look at how we’re all getting along,
look at how we’re all working together to pass the time as pleasantly
as we can, we could be waiting for class to get out.