Watching Ted Kennedy's Funeral on TV
The street outside is slick with spilled water, and
for a while I have laid here, listening to the cars
pull heavy, sodden tires across the road; listened
to the hints of radios, nervous birds bridge love
songs in the eve's of the house. I imagine them
huddling together, unaware, or perhaps
hyperactive to the stillness all around this place.
I go to my mother, who hushes my quizzical musterings,
and I get into the bed with her, cover my body with
too many blankets, because the windows are all
still open wide from the heat wave last month and
the thought of shutting them is still too strange to us,
even in this first thunderous rain of the autumn, early
as it seems to be.
We watch in silence. Commentaries kind; busses filled with
Kennedy's, my royalty, their black dresses, ballet flats,
hair hanging calmly, straight and thick. Boys suited in black
or naval blue.
Clinton is giggling with Bush, Hilary still the wedge between
two sides of civil lore. Obama sits unmoved - though, I like that
he does not mingle overtly, I like that his eyes stay forward.
When the coffin cranes into sight, lolling midway to the altar,
we both can silently taste the Eucharist of our own funerals past.
Without admittance we remember our own grief, though this
mourning is a distant kind, one forged from convertibles
slowly meandering down Texas side streets in November, it's
from stifling hotel lobby's in California where a hand apprehensively
moves hair away from a noble face before a gunshot screams out.
It's a remembered grievance of watching Teddy raise his brother's
It's more than grief that holds us here, unblinking television screen,
silence is the third member of the room, and the cats all yawn in turn.
We both sob loudly when the eulogies echo from Boston to Seattle,
and she reaches for my hand at the first hint of Ava Maria.
We cry, and cry, and cry. The cats just sigh.
My father raises his eyebrows at us, detached,
he's always believed that we're crazy.