Apostrophe in Eternity
A coffin’s not so bad, the old monk told me,
the two of us standing there, a foot or two
from the monk who had died the day before
and was lying now in a pine casket.
He was younger, only 83, the old monk said,
and healthy, too, and yet he got there
before I did, a lucky soul if you believe
that life's an apostrophe in eternity
standing in momentarily
for Who we’re all dying to meet.
If we didn’t believe that, the old monk said,
neither of us would have come here.
He was an engineer, like you, for years
and I would have been a forest ranger,
hard to believe two men like us would
spend our lives praying for hours a day
and making cheddar cheese in between.
I’ll give you some to take home to the family.
The cheese is worth the trip, he laughed.
We monks make the best of it
until the apostrophe disappears.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.