So I never saw his body

So I never saw his body, waxy, white, and still;
and I never saw the coffin, heavy wooden box,
lifted carefully from the hearse by unknown men in black suits;
and I never sat in the utilitarian crematorium chapel,
and heard the vicar grapple with the words and prayers,
and fail to do justice to my father’s life;
and I never joined in with the thin voices of the few mourners
attempting to sing the selected hymns;
and I didn’t see the adult tears of grief,
and the dabbing of the eyes, and the struggles to constrain;
and I didn’t stand around in the January cold afterwards,
wondering what to say, when there is nothing adequate to say;
and I never saw the anonymous box of ashes,
final transformation of a life of vibrancy and love,
being scattered on the earth by path x, avenue y.

All this, being then considered too young, I was protected from,
with the most loving of intentions;
instead there was created a black hole of unknowing
out of which emerged my own childish versions of unreality
which wormed their way into my life,
and from which nothing could protect me.

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