Death is a houseful of Atwood novels, pill boxes,

china dolls, VHS, stacks of telegrams and flannels

waiting to be dumped at the Salvation Army.

A hired speaker's voice strains for dignity

like the twang and clatter of an old piano.

That process of editing (they did get chickenpox

on their honeymoon, but nobody remembers, do they?).

Your cousin has ordered a black veil through the Internet

and clings to her boyfriend like a spider.

Your aunt recounts in a robotic voice

how the cancer spread and the morphine dosage rose.

A chill down the collar of your thin black dress.

and an ache in your stilettoed feet.

That thing in the coffin, with the white silk dress,

the hair combed straight, the blue-veined hands clasped.

The face gleaming like a doll's.

A silence that drives you

to stamp around the graveyard by yourself,

hands jammed in your pockets, swearing at the clouds.