Looking Out the Rear Window

The funeral rite concluded
With the pastor shaking hands,
Offering words of comfort
I didn't quite understand.

The undertakers came forth
And summoned pallbearers' four.
They marched beside the coffin
Carrying it steady toward the door.

I didn't cry or whimper
As I followed right behind.
But deep within I screamed
Don't leave O Mother of mine.

Please don't go to the grave;
Let's chat just one more time.
Let's talk about the 'good old days'
Don't leave, O Mother of mine."

But onward moved the casket
Down the stairs to the limousine;
With Mother laying incognizant
Of my agonizing scream.

As we rode toward the ossuary
Thoughts were swimming in my head;
Why didn't the whole world stop?
Didn't it know my Mother was dead?

But the world kept 'bout its business
And within I felt so sad,
'Cause my Mother didn't get the honor
I thought she should have had.

As we drove into the cemetery
I knew it wouldn't be long,
Before I had to sing at last
My final farewell song.

I stood at the gravesite
Grief festering in my breast:
Scriptures read, prayers prayed,
Mother committed to eternal rest.

Looking out the car's rear window
As we mutely drove away;
I saw a heavenly angel fly
To where my Mother lay.

Then I knew that all was well,
That Mother was just fine.
That I would live and grow and serve
Until, alas, my time.

Thank you Lord for reassuring me
That the grave is not the end.
That Mother is patiently waiting for me
Just around life's toilsome bend.

But now there's work I must perform
That no one else can do;
Some hurting, aching souls to soothe,
Broken dreams to help renew.

And in the process of reaching out
To brighten someone's day;
I sense way deep within myself,
That I too will be okay.

Saundra L. Washington is the author of two coffee table books: "Negative Disturbances, Homilies that Teach," and the book from which this poem is taken, "Room Beneath the Snow, Poems that Preach." Looking out the Rear Window was written shortly following her mother's death. She can be contacted at: http://www.clergyservices4u.org

In The News:

Poetry: It Rained  southseattleemerald.com
Anne Stevenson obituary  The Guardian
Poet for good life  Korea Times
Transport and Poetry  Art Valley Association
A gift of poetry  Fiji Times
Just poetry  Martha's Vineyard Times
Resistance Poetry in Kashmir  Kashmir Observer
SEPT 2020 - Poetry  Brooklyn Rail
Poetry: Adirondack Blue -  Adirondack Almanack
Popular Event Poetry Unplugged Returns  The Milwaukee Community Journal
Why teach poetry?  The Michigan Daily

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