After the Funeral Service – a poem by Peggy Turnbull

After the Funeral Service

Long-haired men lift the casket,
carry it
through the church’s double doors.

The congregation sings, “Onward,
Christian Soldiers.”
A vibration begins in my throat.

I think I hear a bat navigating
the rafters,
echolocating while waves of sound

surround it and the coffin.
Melody travels
where we cannot. Its frequencies

intersect with dusty corners,
We sing to our beloved lost one.

The martial meter of the familiar hymn
a heartbeat
for the journey to our Creator. I sing

with spirit. We all do, as if we think
our voices
can pierce the membrane between

the living and the dead.
Singing loudly,
as if there is no doubt.

Peggy Turnbull studied anthropology in college and has a master’s in library and information science.  She has written all her life, mostly in diaries, but after returning to her birthplace in Wisconsin, she began to write poems.  Read them in Ariel Chart, Writers Resist, and Verse-Virtual or visit  .

1 Comment

  1. dorybear says:

    “As if there is no doubt” — ah, yes, the penetration, the connection of hearts, both bat and human. Here’s one I wrote about a disconnect:

    Contact Missed

    It’s evening and the hummingbirds
    Are buzzing about
    Looking for their last meal of the day.
    It does seem though
    That I might at least have
    Talked to him when he called.

    Dorian Black, September 1, 2011


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