Gordon Scarpens

Taking our Turn

With all the solemnness
of a communion wafer
I hand out the news
Of another death of a friend.

We discuss the failure rate
of juggling stress
with nervous hands
and tightly closed eyes,

and conversation leaves footprints
through carefully turned phrases,
trying to shoulder some pain
of a harrowed family.

Plans for funeral respects
and floral sympathy
drug the conscience.
We try to ignore the sequel,

and talk drifts to ourselves.
Comparisons are a sour joke
bouncing between us
but never mentioned.

As though at a signal
we suddenly hug tightly,
and take our turn
at being alive.