March 2021

An autumn afternoon,
a country church
more than half-full,
old-time musicians,
jazz in their bones
getting re-acquainted,
chatting quietly.

The family enters
sits in the front pew
their shaggy dog,
head on paws, at their feet
and the funeral ritual
begins, hymns, eulogy,
the Lord's prayer.

To finish, a recording,
Tiny strumming his banjo,
singing a jazz number.
The dog's ears prick up
and he howls, an eerie
out-of-this-world wail

full of desperate longing.