Monday, April 06, 2009

A Wake In the Barrio

Funeral wakes in our barrio
Are simple but picturesque

Amidst boiling cauldrons of
Rice porridge with strips of tripes

A gathering of mourners intone their grief
While downing jugs of native grog

The sakla master shuffles the deck
Cards bearing luck not auguring death

Children past bedtime hours scaring
Each other while hiding under the casket

Wilted floral wreaths line up the walls
Like sentinels with nauseous breaths

The honored one somber in slumber
Indifferent to the homage paid him

The widow worries about the collection
Fingers the knotted hankie bulging with coins

Will there be enough to pay in the morrow
The brass band engaged to liven the sorrow?

Oh, but her eldest will arrive from LA tonight
Bringing dollars, then there's nothing to fear

Picture yourself behind the coffin's misted glass
A life well led but ended with trifling ceremony

Funeral wakes in the barrio will always be the same
As if I care, but I wish I can do better on my turn.

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