Corn stalks fly at half mast
in the field beside the church
against a dirty backdrop of brown trees.
A tractor and a combine salute the teen
who lies inside the church.
Volunteers wave cars into the lot
behind a Future Farmer banner:
Family, Farming and Faith.
Inside, the line shuffles from the back,
an hour’s wait to the bereaved,
but no one minds.
This unthinkable sorrow is
the twine that binds our souls.
We still love him where he lies,
his farmer’s cap upon his bruised head.
A few words, reminders of the
humor, joy, honor, and love
of his too-short life.
Then outside, sunlight hurts
our swollen eyes. We mill about
and wander to our cars,
form a queue for miles.
Family accepts the graveside seats,
now on holy ground, where they will say
When words of comfort are scattered,
we leave them in their grief.
Tables heaped with home-made food
greet the mourners in the church.
At the family table sits the woman
who remembers their kindness
when her teenage daughter died.
Now her gift to them is silence
that comes from knowing
the ineptitude of words.