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I have not been taught about death

We gather in clumps, like weeds
that grow from a common root.
Small laughs and everyday events
spill out of careful mouths. Tongues wag
in all directions but there is nothing heard
of winding sheets or face painting,
nothing about how the soil absorbs us.

On the fallow grass, we gather
in a protective huddle and listen
as the leaves rustle and resist.
Soon, the delicate fall rain
softens them and they become mute
in their struggle with the wind.

It is over. The rain has stopped
and we wander, like fallen leaves
blowing in the autumn chill, careful
not to rush or look at the sky.

I watch the last black car ease into the street,
place stone on stone and read the facts
carved for strangers like me. A few leaves
lie still, nestled against the fresh flowers.

This poem won first place in The Ontario Poetry Society
"The Price is Right" contest - ten dollar category - 2004