I wrote this last year for Veterans Day; reposting it today, for Memorial Day as I'm sure this same scene is still going on all over this country, and in one way or another, in many others.
Stopped bored at the tracks I look
over the fence into the cemetery
at the funeral.
Heads bared to the lucid November sun
on display to all who pass outside,
the mourners shift uncomfortably
around the sad slump of green
cloth that is the
next to last
shelter of the passed.
A young black sailor stands frowning
in uniform on the outskirts of the grey white family,
stark as a banner of war in a country of peace.
His white cap floating above the composition
like an artist’s touch of cloud on sky
placed by design to draw the eye
away from the politely concealed
hole in the earth.
It seems obscene for me
to watch from my car
the flag folding,
the mortality party
to which I’m uninvited
but no one seems to care that
a few feet away the world
In the rearview mirror
I see the sailor extinguish his cap
in a sudden grasp,
bow his head.
then they’re gone.
If only it was really
that easy to pass on.