We changed the fake flowers on your grandparent’s grave
Climbed up the Mausoleum’s rolling ladder
met eye to eye with their drawer
Checked out their dates: births and transitions
Took down a fake bouquet you put up for a holiday weeks, months, years ago
Who are we changing the flowers for?
Chilly marble echoes marrow deep in still dead stories
Famous names, frozen bishops and archbishops,
Estate owners, namesakes of Peninsula Townships the
Athertons, Burlingames, Giannini founder of the B of A
All stiffs ~ now dreaming in drawers
some await the second coming
others have already seen God
some know fire and some still stuck in Purgatory
Your grandparents did well sold their business for $6 million in ‘65
Low profile heirs, dabbled in California real estate
Your mom never went to the finest schools
she did take an ocean liner cruise to Italy in 1937
married a Half Moon Bay laborer who served in WWII
Your uncles, vino pushers, investors in a ‘soft’ ride
You float on a lily pad gifted from the woman in the drawer marked with fake flowers
As you arrange the bouquet I watch your hands balance the green ferns just so
to try to make it look real
It’s easier when Family cuts a sweet piece of the action
No need to beg for low rent, food stamps, or rent storage to save someday items for a someday dream
Standing next to you I feel the chill, the exclusive devotion outsiders not included
I witness an elite primo plot where bugs and ants can’t readily feast on the bones of those who did well, played the game, got the dough big time
As we leave the cemetery we stop by my parents’ grave
A big ‘D’ marks a tombstone where two loved ‘til death did they part’
Now in the ground one atop the other . . .
the ants crawl in, the ants crawl out
They didn’t do well enough to warrant one of them expensive
California dreamin’ drawers . . .
Wonder where my bones will be placed?
I loved the journey into the mausoleum. The detail in those first three lines grabbed me.
This poem snatched me up with its beginning and did not let go.