One by One

I take my black dress pants off
of the hanger.
They haven’t been there long
enough to crease.
Worn so many times since the first
Of this year.
I slide my legs in, one by one.

I take my black blouse out
of the laundry basket.
It is fresh from the dryer,
crisp and clean.
I see the fabric is fading
from the washing and the wearing.
I do the buttons, one by one.

I take my time on the way,
in no hurry at all to be there
Standing quietly in a line,
nodding at familiar faces
I have seen too often lately,
under similar circumstances.
We pass the casket one by one.

I take my leave of the room
And make my way
to the parking lot.
Starting the car,
engaging the hazard lights,
awaiting instructions.
The cars fall in line one by one.

I take my umbrella from the car.
It is overcast,
and I think it might rain soon.
There is a chill in the air.
I am trying to keep my balance.
My heels are sinking into the ground.
We place our flowers, one by one.

I take my gaze upwards
towards the cold gray sky,
as we slowly leave this place
and head on to a gathering
of grievers and mourners
eating and drinking.
We raise our glasses, one by one.

I take my turn to tell
a story. Remembering a time
when we were all together.
I weave the happy tale and
sew the sunny fabric of our lives
together with stories of the others who’ve passed.
We lose them all, one by one.

I take my first chance, and sneak
away. Needing to be done
with this. Needing to be back to
a warm shower, messy house,
noisy family, everyday problems.
Needing to be back in my everyday clothes.
I count my blessings, one by one.


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