A Holy Goodbye

I honor your life,
I honor your passing,
I say, when they flow by my house
on the way to the Panteón.
The last journey parade
starts with the coffin
followed by a band and then
the mourners,
stepping slow along the cobblestones.

I stop what I’m doing when I hear them.
From inside my house, I face the street
and raise my arms above my head in recognition
of the one accompanied today.

Sometimes a singer
who has been given the loved one’s favorite songs
pours his ardent voice into the streets,
a voice I hear approaching
and then receding, like a life.
The band is always brassy,
with bright notes of horns,
an insistent tuba, flutes and
drums to sustain the mourners’ feet,
and somehow always sounds
reverent and royal and joyous at once.

Unhurried, this last journey,
sad, and yet,
more merry than solemn.
I stop to do my part,
grateful that the route
takes every procession past my house.
Whatever I’m doing
recedes to insignificance
in favor of the stranger being borne by.

Whatever the life we live,
here go we each
and all on our way, ending the same,
needing a holy goodbye.

©Susa Silvermarie 2020

2 Responses to “A Holy Goodbye

  • Jennie Orvino
    2 weeks ago

    I find this poem to be a knockout, not just the language, but in how you participate in the funeral of a stranger, that you are grateful that the route of the procession passes your house. This made me pause, especially as I hear daily of the Covid death numbers, it is like they are passing in procession by my house too…now that you brought my attention to it.

    It almost makes me feel like writing a poem…almost.

  • Reminds me that I have not been to the cemetery lately to look at the headstones of my parents! when I die, I will take part in another position so to speak, my body will be donated to the University of Michigan medical college and medical students will learn from my lifetime of living!

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