Saturday, January 1, 2022

A Funeral in Absentia

The preacher never uses the word
Haunting, but you can see she’s haunted

By how many long sermons she’s heard
And those jokes about women preaching

Made by men haunted by other men
Haunted by earlier sermons’ words.

She’s compensating, friendly-solemn,
As she walks us through her homily.

She knows half the people here are here
For reasons other than faith or fear.

Most have come to feel the ritual
Of farewell to an old acquaintance,

For closure, as folks say nowadays.
Folks say a lot of things nowadays

In new words or old words used new ways.
Hashtag, imposter syndrome, reboot,

Ghost. That’s the best, the new use of ghost,
Since, now, instead of haunting people,

Ghosting drifts the other direction
To become wholly unreachable.

To ghost as a verb means to abstain
From replying, to absent oneself

From any further interaction.
Thus, for the first time in history,

The term approximates how things are
That caused you to invent terms like it

For mysterious, aching absence,
Not because the past is haunting you

But because you can no longer raise
A response from the pasts you talk to.

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