The Weight of Waste


A butterfly

Yellow with thin black veins against the cemetery green

Bounces in the breeze.

The dancing distraction lifts the mourning weight

Of scarves and long coats and bowed heads.

And one finds one’s self delighted without thinking

Until the wing alights for one beat

Revealing itself to be nothing

But a scrap of scribbled paper

Some Post-It Note tumbling across the yard.

How the sight of litter spoils the spirit!

How secular in such a sacred space!

One judges one’s self harshly

Even for noticing such temporal things

At a time such as this.

But one can’t help it.

One wonders what is written.

Perhaps a secret the dear departed had slipped

Within the leaves of the parson's Bible

Blown by the breeze before it could be read.

A revelation left for the living

After so many years.

Surely it was something

One had coldly ignored all the live-long days.

An indignity one had caused without knowing.

Some sorrow one had never listened to.

A confession or a life-long heartache shared

At last as death loomed

Now flitting away forever

To be trashed by the grounds crew

On another day.

The weight of finality one must wear.

It is no butterfly.

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