It’s your funeral, we say,
but it’s not.
Funerals are for the living.
Jannie and her brothers and sisters
packed their father’s ashes in shotgun shells
and fired them into the wilderness
west of Rocky Mountain House.
Nigel and his sisters
asked the crew for a broom
to sweep their mother’s ashes
from the deck of the Vancouver-Victoria ferry
when the wind shifted while scattering.
No one asked the ashes.
What they wanted no longer signified.
At your funeral,
we’ll stand around and say
Too bad the old guy let it slip away.
You say you’ll go out feet first,
and probably will—
but now of rotting shingles,
green shag carpet.
These things you’re dying to keep.
The house sags around and with you.
Each time we visit you rehearse your funeral plans.
You’ve told us how and where
you want to be buried.
Now tell us why.