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In his blackest suit

the father carries the coffin

It is light as a box of Kleenex

He carries it in one hand

It is white and gold

A jewel box

Their baby is in it

In the unconscionable weather

the father sweats and weeps

The mother leans

on the arms of two women friends

By the sacred light of the church

they are pale as gristle

The priests talk Latin

change their elaborate clothes

their mitres, copes

their stoles embroidered by nuns

Impervious to grief

their sole intention

is the intricate ritual

of returning a soul to God

this sinless homunculus

this tiny seed

Funeral Mass

P. K. Page

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