My grandmother, Dorothy Griffin, died in 1992. Years later I wrote this poem which is very reminiscent of a certain scene in The Big Lebowski.
No funeral, you said.
Just dump the ashes
In the woods
(Where animals live).
We read some prayers,
And said some poetry
(for us, if not for you).
Then dumped the plastic
Blue urn from the crematory
Into the wind,
Which bore you away,
Like your thoughts that magic day when
You saw your father, ‘King’ Arthur,
In the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Unexpectedly, you blew back into us like
The smoke of your cigarettes,
Until you were in our clothes,
Our hair, our eyes
(like the smoke that still lingers
in your old chair with our memories of
your nicotine tales of Republican plots
and immortal girlhood dogs).
Who dared to laugh?
One of us (I don’t recall who)
Could not bear the stifled grin.
It was so damn funny just then
With your ashes floating down like
It was so damn funny just like
Archie Bunker, MASH and all
Your rerun TV shows.
It was so damn funny, with us all
Laughing instead of crying.
You got the funeral you wanted,
If those Episcopalian prayers
Didn’t piss you off too much.