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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “funeral”

places buried in the past


I did not know her
but I was compelled
to find her final resting place

it was a bright but cold december day
but I kept warm in the car
driving mindlessly past corn fields
mile after mile after mile
stripped clean yet ruggedly barren

the interstate traffic was heavy
and I wondered how many seekers
if any
had set off on a journey
to find her final resting place

google maps told me how to get there
but I only had to read the directions once

and when I got there
it was as if I had been there all along



december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the next chapter


you never know when you’re going
to get that call
lifting you off the ground
and forcing you to your knees

you rehearsed it inside your head
so many times
but none of that matters
since you’ve become paralyzed

it all begins on sacred ground
you tell yourself
your world picking up speed
rising to the occasion

underneath the surface you see
mere memories
sealed inside spacious box
sand blasted and pulverized


june two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where oh where can she be


she’s in a better place now
he mumbled to himself
retying his wingtips on the bathroom stool
dabbing his finger with his tongue
and erasing old smudge marks

she never felt comfortable
walking in her own shoes
choosing instead to be someone else
like a promising young star
searching for that perfect role

he walked back into the parlor
and mingled among the living
wondering where in the macrocosm
her consciousness had landed
now that her body lay in state


june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

billy loved apple pie


billy died on a sunday
and he never did get a proper
burial. fact is, nobody
knew exactly what happened
to his remains.

a bunch of his buddies
decided to get together one day
and followed a funeral procession
on foot. they were well equipped
with beer on ice
and hash under glass,
not to mention a few packs of smokes.

when the preacher finished
anointing the grave
with oils and incense,
someone beyond the bushes
cracked a joke
about how billy used to love
to smell his finger
after he’d got some.

nobody was ever sure
who really got buried that day,
but everyone knew
soon there would be pie.


march two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Whispers of Sorrow


We drove through the cemetery
in the dead of winter
until we found the blue canopy
flopping in the wind

Many inches of snow had fallen
the night before but the plow
had cleared the lanes

A bright sun and dress shoes
hit the asphalt with purpose

As many as a hundred faces
converged on the canopy
in steadfast silence

Gusts of wind arrived from the west
and tossed snow off the roof
and onto the gatherers

Familiar prayers were recited
between coughs and sniffles
and one woman’s weeping

When a bugler played
a familiar lullaby
the vacant faces drifted
in varying directions
whispers of sorrow filling the air


january two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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