Pat Jones

Hic Jacet

by Catherine Chandler

Out of the depths, a well-intentioned priest
Voices the prayers and canticles. The altar’s
Elements feed the friends of the deceased.
Rest in peace. It says so in the psalters.
Mind how he lauds the lovely afterlife,
Yammering in his huckster’s oversell —
Dutiful daughter, mother, sister, wife,
Explaining how unfit I am for hell.
As if this Earth were not the world to me!
Despite its flaws, it’s home. It’s all I’ve known.
Be slow to cast away my ecstasy
Of fire, air and water, blood and bone.
Death. To dust and ashes I return;
Yet I lie grieving in this gilded urn.

Catherine Chandler’s poems and translations have been published in print and online journals and anthologies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and a finalist in the 2008 Howard Nemerov Sonnet competition, she is the author of For No Good Reason (2008). Catherine lives in Saint Lazare, Quebec, except during the Canadian winter, which she spends in Punta del Este, Uruguay.