Player Piano

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Player piano in the empty funeral parlor foyer cranks

out old standards with a Dixieland flourish. The old

wooden cross. How great thou art. Take my hand precious

Lord. No one hears it. No one is here to discuss pre-planning.


No one peruses coffins for his aunt who has been sick so long

the family forgot she would die. No one is scooped out

by grief at the accidental death of her husband who had

been sleeping in the guest room for years, and came back


to bed a week ago. No one stacks pride on top of patriotism 

to crush the epileptic rage when his son is sent home,

done in by friendly fire. The embalming room is empty

glistening with germicide. In the whole town, it's a small town,


but still, the whole day, no one dies, no one talks about death,

death troubles no one's tranquility. The mortician drums

his plump fingers on his desk, keeping time to the old

favorites played by no one, that only he can hear.


Paul Jolly from Why Ice Cream Trucks Play Christmas Songs


◄ Poem from One of Our New Collections

Response to Section 63 from Tao Te Ching ►


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