I Went to a Funeral

I went to a funeral today
For an uncle I did not
Know. He was a stranger
To me, like that person who
Everyone at work knows
But won’t introduce you.
And when he’s gone no one
Talks about him, like an infant’s
“out of sight, out of mind.”

I was supposed to feel sad
About his passing but I didn’t.
How do you feel sad about
Someone dying when Captain
America is closer to you than
Your uncle? People cried,
People mourned my uncle’s
Passing. Me, I fidgeted in my
Seat to keep from peeing my
Pants—that chocolate milk
Raced through my bladder
Faster than Tiger Woods’ golf
Game disappeared.

While the service was underway
I sat in my pew at the funeral
Home critiquing the service. I like
The way my church does that song
Better. Let’s be honest, we need to
Stop singing “Amazing Grace” without
Bagpipes, like making Scotch Whiskey
Without barley and water. I listened
To the country music versions of the
hymns and groaned, country music
vocals are terrible, like a dog howling
out of tune to a cat being strangled.

I listened to the preacher give his
Sermonette because he knew my
Uncle would want the “gospel” to
Be preached at his funeral. Really?
I wouldn’t have known, but then again
I’m better acquainted with Benedick
And Beatrice. I listened as he spoke
From all the cliché passages: Psalm 23,
John 14. I just wanted to use
The bathroom. That milk moved
Faster than American Pharoah
In the Triple Crown races.

When my row was dismissed to
view the casket one last time
I looked at my uncle for the first
Time in more years than I care to
Count. Was it when my grandpa,
His dad, died eight years ago? My
Uncle looked at peace, that kind of
Peace that a curfew creates in a city
Full of hate and violence: it’s not real.
It’s a lie to make ourselves feel better.
He was dressed as I guessed he would
Have wanted, his eyes closed and arms
Crossed at his waist. Probably what I
Look like when I nap after work.

Why didn’t I care that my uncle was dead?
Why didn’t I feel any sense of loss? Where
Was the hole in my life that the preacher
Said would be there? Another one of the
Lies we tell ourselves at funerals to feel
Better about our lack of care. I guess I’m
Just an inhuman bastard who cares
Nothing for the dead and those who
Mourn them. I guess I’m just a selfish
Prick who feels only for himself, not
For others. Or am I upset that I was
Never afforded the chance to know
This man? Or am I upset that I
Never took the time that I have
Plenty of. Fuck it. He’s dead
And I’ll never know the truth.

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~ by hankimler on June 24, 2015.

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