Open House

It’s open house in the dead folk’s home today.
The bright sun shows no shadows. Empty light
laves limestone markers. Children outside play
but here, inside, the shadows wait for night.
Entombed regrets accumulate, give way
in turn to melancholy tunes that fight
for breath to give them more than memories’ sounds.
All fades away, subsumed by fresh-turned mounds

of humid soil. The scratched panes of this hearse
reflect no light. Inside, no mirror marks
the driver’s breath. No notepad notes his curse
and no one’s here to count the motes and quarks
of flesh half gone to Hades now, or worse.
The shovels striking arrowheads throw sparks
illuminating tribes no longer here.
Silent watchers wait the lonely bier

to weight it down with yet unspoken words
and stories told in futures we can’t fear.
The dead folk’s home is mindless of the herds
of scapegoats buried here the awful year
the plague achieved majority. Two birds
whose plumage blacks no-future nights don’t hear
no-words the chauffeur’s phantom wants to say
but pose with wings up poised to fly away.

They cannot budge. No mortals live inside
the dead folk’s home, not even feathered things.
These birds are props set here back then as guides
for visitors, and scarecrows guarding rings
among the mausoleums. They deride
the hopes their makers had, and doleful pings
(no wind makes them emit) elicit but
wan silent echoes of their task to shut

down hopes of succour for us everyone
who man this dead folk’s home, where honoured bones
and humble dust exchange their finite fund
of molecules. The children’s (playing outside) mobile phones
don’t penetrate this atmosphere. The dun
and acrid ether draws no tears. No moans
disturb the mounds and hearse. No Vespers douse
no comfort lights. It’s always open house.

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