funeral poem of lost love by Andy Derryberry

in my time
i’ve looked a multitude of the dead
in the face
in their caskets

when i was young
the country way
said the words
under a tent

and the men
considered it an obligation
and privilege
to shovel in some of the dirt

when i was young
that’s just the way it was done
i observed and followed
the lead of my dad

now it is a matter of respect
to look on the last state
of a person who mattered
but resides there no more

today it repeated once again
after 85 years the simple end
to a child, a pretty woman,
a mother, an old friend

the talk around a casket
much like everyday talk
of not much import
mostly chatter, chirping of birds

but i did see
the lonely walk of a man
of her age
to the final box

without others
away from families
solitary there
all to himself

he silently wept
wiped away the tears
since he was not husband
and she not wife

he wept about the loss
of what was
of what had been
of what have could have been

he left a little later
not because he wasn’t known
because it wasn’t his
to officially mourn

but i suspect no one
friend, child, family
loved her
more than he