Final Arrangements – A poem for Parsha Vayechi (Aliyah 3)

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And Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am going to die . . . And I have given you one portion over your brothers

Genesis 48:21-22

Someone I know once called to make
funeral arrangements for his mother who
hadn’t died yet.

The doctors made it clear the outcome
was inevitable, but, maybe let the eyes close
one last time before you make the call.

You never know how busy they’re going to be
he told me forecasting a rush of burials
over the weekend.

I suggested it may not be the first time
the funeral home had dealt with people dying
and perhaps one of their prerequisites

may be the deceased be actually dead.
He was kind enough not to say I told you so
when she did pass away and now

she is safely in the ground where
these arrangements are not spoken of.
Who among us, after we get past

the impossibility of our own deaths, hasn’t
already planned our own funeral and screened
landscape architects for our burial spots?

There should be a nice tree, of course,
ideally a view of the city, and, as far as the
ceremony goes, I’ve already pre-recorded

the whole thing. You’ll let me know if they
laugh at the right times, and who feels
bold enough in that space to say

what they really think of me?
Jacob took care of his last needs
to make it easier for Joseph.

Something we’ll all do.
Something that will be done
for all of us.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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