NEW ORLEANS FUNERAL

A Poem by John Grey

A thousand people
cram into a block or two of sidewalk
on a hell-hot steamy Saturday afternoon
in New Orleans –

pallbearers and coffin ease their way
through the throng
to the slow rolling rhythms
of a brass band –

street dancers follow the body,
their partners
the parasols above their heads
and the flowing scarves
wrapped around the wrist –

an old woman
looks out over her iron-grill balcony,
a drunk abandons half a glass of beer,
stumbles out of the bar –

the dead wouldn’t miss this
for the world.

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