White walls, white halls
Grey speckled floors
With a sticky tone,
Doors that go nowhere
Except to rooms where eventually
We all go.
Once you go beyond the pearly gates,
It’s easy to get lost in a place like this,
Identical corridors ablaze with a neon glow
Hiding gently lit side rooms
Housing the young, the old, the rich, the poor.
At the end of this corridor
a family occupy a waiting room,
waiting with morbid fascination
for an angel to come and usher them in –
An angel without wings.
They’d watch the clock if it mattered,
(But they don’t, time doesn’t work here like it should)
Or read the books that are scattered,
(But they can’t, words don’t work like they used too)
They’re weary and shattered
(Sleep is restless, sleep is fractured)
The pale radiance makes them look far from flattered.
Using small talk to pass the time
they reminisce to fill the hours.
Every so often a few rotate in
For the few who rotate out,
Next door an old body lays broken,
Rotting from within.
Merely two months ago they were told
that the end was drawing in for a patriarch so old.
So many years of punctures and repairs,
(Great mileage, good condition)
and now the engine is about to give up and rust is eating in.
In the waiting room they remain
periodically a minister greets the congregation,
and the angels sweep by
giving updates on status and condition.
They all appear ambivalent just now
some appearing strong, others appearing drawn.
Regaling each other with thisses and thats,
“Do you remember that time when…”
“Och, you had to be there!”
Even with laughter soothing fragile psyches
it’s not the best medicine in the confessional
just beyond the north facing wall.
But none of us are there.
Creating a deeper, darker story
than anything that’s came before.
This room has become a makeshift heaven
where siblings will remain for days at a time.
Paralysed, but not by fear, just with delay
each passing minute feels like a day.
Me? I couldn’t contain myself.
I had to let it out.
I never have done since.
Not even when I said goodbye for the final time.
So I, like the others, wait.
An angel waddles in.
It’s time for the ceremony to begin.