Creaking steps lead to the balcony
where old pews are tucked away,
filled with those who’ve come to witness
the end of this short life.
Hands clutching tissues lean on smooth wood,
holding the mourners firmly in place,
heads held high for the family
while hymns and prayers are lifted up.
Everyone sings praise to thee
but my heart aches with questions
that my head can’t quell
and there are no answers here,
only quiet sniffling from the seats.
Mourners file out like shock victims, shuffling,
huddled close as long as possible
before spilling onto the church steps.
Women dab at streaking makeup
and young men with wide red eyes
stand in groups, searching for strength
through their shock and loss.
We linger in the rain looking for comfort,
unwilling to leave the pull of his church,
unable to stay and fill this void.
We break away.

– ljh 11/7/15