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,
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.
A wonderful, sobering journey beautifully bookended. Very thought provoking and poignant. Thank you so much for sharing your art.