There Will Be No Funeral
in loving memory of Concepcion Cruz Agullana
Everywhere is a cemetery,
and there will be no funeral. on either side of the Pacific Ocean.
No one will give last rites to my lola, No guessing nurse will call my name or hers
I will have heard no doctor’s steely voice There’ll be no waiting room
to call her ‘the body.’ Over the body. There will be no priest
swinging a pendulum of incense no prayers no rosaries there’s no money
No undertaker will proclaim her life There’ll be no glass plate covering
her wooden casket. There will be no casket it’s too expensive There will be no party
no lumpia no noodles for no life long enough
No black attire No hands clasping tissue or other hands
‘The body’ will not be seen There will be my grandma in an urn–a tiny basket
her curled body that lilted into the afterlife after dementia twenty years after grandpa
there’s no room for every body
there’s no house for everybody to come in and stay no room for sorrows There will be no placeholder no
land no candles no water no six-foot empty she will be unmarked
my lola, an unnamed earthquake
No one will hear her long name how it stretches a sunset if my lola dies and no one sees is
she still my lola? is a canyon a series of cliffs? there’s no place in the apartment for what rituals
maybe they will send her to the Philippines my grandma is a maybe and we are not they
did you know when airlines carry the deceased
they are called passengers
they travel in their coffins passengers in seats are called existing passengers
this small poem the only eulogy where we’ll put my grandma her existence laid to rest in a
in this non-ilokano language a killer rows and rows of dirt
money doesn’t grow maybe someone there will bury her
how will i carry her when only darkness has the space?
where will we put my grandma when we can’t afford our grief?
Copyright © Janice Sapigao. This poem originally appeared in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Used with permission of the author.