The Man No Longer There
It's such a barren church, for not one hug
Is shared amongst the mourners who, as yet,
Have not shared arms, nor even shared regret.
They never hugged the body, smelled the hair
Of the only man in town without despair.
Beneath this barren ceiling, hard, off-white
The pounding words of preachers hammer God
As though the coffin lid must not come off
Yet who does not regret he never kissed
The man we always knew we'd always miss?
Embarrassment makes barren hopes take flight
Abandoning us heathen, each alone
Unless we learn his lesson, find the phone
And gently break a boundary of fear
For he is us, the man no longer here.
That barren building, barren like tonight,
Is locked, of course. But you? Are you, as well
Or would you want to visit just for hell?
His widow sits and plays her solitaire
In the house of that old man no longer there.
Nik Habermel, Septermber 1996