Flowers Wither Faster Than the Dead

by Roxanne Finniss

Flowers being placed on a grave

I understand why
you never wanted to be buried.
It begins with a hole
6-feet below to prevent
the odor of decay.
They preserve your skin and organs
through the process of embalming.
Then your family must decide
whether your body might
be presented in an open casket.

(A dead body,
that no longer holds the soul
in which gave it vivacity,
is to be presented as if
it still belongs to the living.)

The body is then placed into
a 12-inch deep casket
lined with velvet.

(As if a dead body can feel
the softness of the fabric.)

Once they are ready to bury it,
the casket is locked to prevent
grave robbers from
digging up the casket
and stealing the earthly possessions
that belong to the body.

(People bury their loved ones
with jewelry and many other material
things that only a human body
could have possession over
─not a soul.)

They then slowly lower the casket
into that 6-foot deep hole.

(As if the body could feel
gravity pulling it into
the center of the Earth.)

People throw flowers and dirt
onto the casket as it lowers
into the earth, as if that is
their last goodbye.

(Putting dead flowers on a casket
of a dead body that is being lowered
into the earth of which they both
came from.)

Then dirt is thrown into the hole,
sealing the casket in the earth.

(Almost as if they are sending it to Hell,
where all the souls apparently go
after they have left their earthly hosts.)

A gravestone is placed beside the grave
in memory of that soul’s name.

(As if the soul dwells there in that home
made of velvet lining and enclosed
with thick wood, only seeing darkness
‘til the end of time.)

And every once in a while,
a loved one visits that grave
to place a dead flower on top of it again.

(Another bouquet of dead flowers
for a soul that will never be able to
see, touch, or smell them again.
another bouquet of dead flowers
that will just rot in one week’s time.)

I understand why you paid to be cremated.
why you paid to burn the body
that trapped you on this earth for far too long.

Why you paid to burn the traditions
of the selfishness and denial of grief.

Category: Featured, Poetry