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Burying Aunt Bill

By John I. Blair

The funeral director had a wheeled device
To roll the casket down the steps into the hearse.

But the old frame church had been designed
For times when strong men carried
Relatives and friends around the angle
In the entry, much too tight for metal carts.

So we eight, two sons, six nephews,
Sat there in our suits, our Sabbath best,
Sweltering in the heat, hearing the well-meant words,
Knowing our hearts held all the eulogy she needed.

Out in the graveyard on the hill
At the end of the dusty road
Her husband and her eldest boy
Had been waiting more than twenty years.

We stepped across the red caliche clods
And stood in clusters around the grave,
Blinking our tears in the prairie wind.
I don't remember the choice of hymn.
"Shall We Gather by the River"
Would not have done.

I hope we sang "Amazing Grace".

2005 John I. Blair


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