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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Funeral March

by Kathy Keogh

She has been writing
his Funeral Dirge
for years
decades maybe
Note by note
Swapping out Minor Chords
for Major ones
Playing with the meter
so that each mourner
will feel
how she feels
She takes her place
in the second pew
behind her children
and his second wife
Black veil
her face
The casket was hand hewned
from a single piece of redwood
The wood worker
has been shaping it
for years
decades maybe
It is a work of art
The wood worker nods
at her
as he takes his seat
The Organist
is seated at the organ
red satin gloves
cover her
trembling hands
She nods to her
and begins to play
Each note
strikes a chord
with the gathering
as they wheel
that perfect redwood casket
toward the Altar
People begin tapping their toes
clapping their hands
heads are bobbing
shoulders moving to the beat
the infectious joyful beat
The Pall Bearers begin
dancing a jig
and soon everyone joins in
The Church
is filled
smiles and laughter
Note by note
she has been writing
his Funeral Dirge
so the gathering
could feel
exactly how his passing
makes her feel
and beneath her
veiled face
she smiles
as his Widow
whistles along.


—Selected for Honorable Mention in the competition for the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2016, and first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17 (Garden Oak Press, February 2017); appears here with permissions from both poet and publisher.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Kathy Keogh

is a songwriter and poet whose work has appeared in San Diego Poetry Annual.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury