Someone really died?

Verse – “We All Used to be Equal Under the Shroud”

About half way through my life
(I am now 3-score and 10)
funerals became the new
thing, “Celebrations of Life,”
with friends (no enemies would come)
saying fine or funny things
about the very special one
who sadly couldn’t be there then
because the ashes were still stored
at the crematorium
and might not ever be picked up,
or buried (unless family had
a plot already bought and paid for,
then a private internment
might for seven very short
minutes remind a few folks
that someone was dead.)

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, July 8, 2013

Verse – Stillbirth

“Don’t kill me!” my young wife cried
as the nurse–quite frantic–pushed
her, the half-born baby, and
gurney down the hallway. “Dead!”
she kept shouting, “The baby is dead…”

E. R. folks, following all
procedures had brought a wheel-
chair to the car at my yell
she was giving birth while still
lying in the back seat.

carry her,” I growled, and sent
chair careening down the street
with a kick. We’d faced the fact
that the child had died and that
natural birth was the best

three sad weeks before. We cried
then. Now we both just wanted
closure, as they say…to find
out what caused her life to end.
“Just a mystery,” we learned.

It took years before we tried again.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urban, Illinois