A Funeral is Its Own Apology

by Patrick Erickson

The obituary
is but a brief rebuff
and there are
no longstanding rebuttals
only grief
however long or short
its work
And if there is rain
and it is cold
there are umbrellas and overcoats
a covering for the bereaved
a buffer for quaking sobs—another kind
of earthquake than that
which opens tombs
that threatens to break the mourner
and bare the grief
There is a covering I say
for these and for grief’s work
however long or short
which must be done in private
close in
where the cut still bleeds
like the fresh cut flowers
that litter the grave
And the covering is enough
as we pull our coats closer to us
raise our umbrellas to shed the rain
and turn our collars to the wind
And each turns to himself
and to the work ahead.