- Directions for My Funeral
In Ghana, artistic casket makers carve wooden caskets in shapesof favorite foods, hobbies,occupations, beloved petsof the deceased, who placetheir requests while still alive.Colorful, large coffins, artists workin wood and paint for months, a year,only to see these works of artburied.
I love the shapes and sizes of fish,but don’t want to be placedin their bellies. I don’t want to be buriedin a champagne bottle, a pineapple,a shoe, a hammer, or piano,and certainly not in a cell phone …not a ship, where my remainsshould be put in steerage, norin the driver’s seat of an antique car.
Make my casket an open, wooden bookof balsa wood pages with gilded edgesthat will ripple in the wind, filledwith the writing of my poems.Place my body in the binding.Let my words be held up on your shoulders,laugh, dance, sing, and drink spirits. [End Page 73] Then set it on fire and free the wordsto black ash. May they gently rain down,may you remember me as ink on a page. [End Page 74]
Carole Cohen is a former poetry editor for Boulevard. She also has been published in many literary magazines including Ascent, Cape Rock , and Sou’wester, among others, and in anthologies. She has also won awards. She has recently moved from St. Louis, MO, to Chattanooga, TN, for a new journey and new poems.