It is almost inevitable
finding out about people’s lives
at the time of death.
Funeral obituary and tributes
cut-outs of acquaintances and relatives by marriage.
married to Dad’s sister
living in another part of the country
circumstances never permitted shared holidays
or Christmas at the farm
fleeting overlap at the bus stop of family convocation
and funerals. Hatches, matches and dispatches.
A working man
his life spent shaping metal to the will of gas and torch
blue sword of flame
spark scattered fragments
At the Requiem all the children spoke tributes
of kindness, patience, gentleness, tolerance
the most humorous from the youngest
“thank you for always coming to get me
and thank you
for not telling Mum what time you got me.”
The most poignant from the oldest
a story learned in the week before death.
45 years before
at the kitchen table of where she was living
he assembled his proposal
confident all potential objections were covered
when he asked her to be his wife
she replied time was needed to think – a few weeks
when questioned she answered
“it’s a big decision.”
He put out his cigarette
and said she was right. She should take time.