Wolf At The Door

By John Schneider

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At the funeral home, sad figures murmur
patting one another on the back, gently
the way we soothe children
gripping each other’s hands, reluctant to let go

then moving on to the next
as if underwater
in no hurry to say good-bye
to our casketed friend

his cooled hands folded, a crucifix on his chest
a still life framed in black and white,
a boxed gift nested in tissue paper.
And why stop there?

Why not a picnic basket
half-hinged lid folded-open
to uncover half the truth about life and death
red-checkered gingham replacing white satin.

The wolf at the door turned back
by the dreamer afraid to dream the dream.
Next morning these practiced knots no longer hold.
Tossing and turning

cursing the sounds from the roof above me
where squirrels scratch and birds drop stones
shovels digging my grave
as, white cotton sheets turned down to my waist,

I lie naked below.

– John Schneider