They weave in and out
Chattering and joking in the courtyard
While he lies within
Some distant relatives who never met him,
And some strangers with them,
Like this is a free-for-all,
Coming without even being called.
Do they even know who he was?
That he liked trees,
Smiled with his eyes half-closed when the breeze
Danced across him, and he was happy
Just to have been there while he was.
That our hearts broke to see him that way,
The faded smiled, the jaded eyes,
The falling hair, slipping slowly into the lair.
He lay there smiling, even as he lay cold.
He didn’t see the circus his last gathering had become.
We couldn’t do anything, standing in a corner
Of our own house, like uninvited guests
Watching it all in disbelief,
Numbed by grief.
He was gone, forever this time.
They did not know,
They did not care.
Sipping on cola and munching cookies,
They tsked around for a while.
Then stopped pretending when they got tired
And forgot all about him.
When the wolves had ravaged and left at last,
We sat in a corner
It had not sunk in.
And he for whom they had come,
He lay in a wooden box in the mud smiling.
And his photograph lay in another corner of our house,
Where he had been just a while back,
Someone had elbowed the photograph and it had fallen
On the floor and cracked,
The crack ran from his temples, across his lips
And down his throat,
Onto his chest.
They had broken his smile at last.