Names written in jet black once friends to others
unknown faces have died before them
some with high school pictures to cover
emaciated faces now canvassed by satin pillows.
Friends read and say how sad how bad
step in their polished shoes gray dresses
gray suits to lose themselves in a gray crowd
a cloud of mourners uncertain how it came to this.
Lovers once, warriors once, once railroad riveters,
waitresses hairdressers, nurses lost in a sea, now
gone to ether for sure a better place with no pain
as if pain was the whole of their lives.
It’s true you see, time gives us pain, gives us torture,
fragile hips, fragile existence living on a nickel
while youth dances at the barroom scene
drink a beer, drink a toast and don’t forget the casseroles.