The Funeral

Your portrait stands proudly erect,
vaulted by a noose of chrysanthemums
as white as they are fake.
Your body is cold, decaying meat
in a sack of foul skin beyond
even the saving of a cosmetic cake.
Your visitors bow in prostration
before a gilded box of nothingness:
neither a soul nor a breath nor a heartache.

Oh the solitary loneliness of your being:
The slow sleep of death embalmed,
And the phlegm of thoughts entombed,
Oh the walls of the coffin, in rancid anomie,
Where you have far long since ceased to be.

Those monks that chant
like croaking frogs
spewing incantations of sutras that
sound more like senile curses of which
your unhearing ears cannot despise.
Those gongs and tocking fish-drums that
busk away like a beggar’s croon,
consoling you on your passage
through the eighteen hells of expiation:
deathly and agonised.
And the hell notes and incense
that chock the world’s light,
that lend the only semblance
of grey mournfulness
to the bright, unaffected skies.

They said, in prostrated vigil:
Oh he died peacefully in his sleep,
Such a tranquil smile, such rosy cheeks,
Even in the slumber of repose.
Here lies a great man of great stature;
Here lies a great father, son and brother.
No need for sutras or gospels;
No want for tears or prayers.
His own virtue would guide himself
through the afterlife.

They said, in prostrated vigil:
Oh your virtuous spirit would return
to the earthly realm on the third day.
A final visit befitting of a lamp and
a white cloth plastered on the graffiti
to guide you to your former home:
therein a bed of ash scattered to reveal
where your spirit would traverse.

But all thousands of specks of ash,
like dust in the sky and droplets on a sink,
remain untouched, unanswered.

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