Strange Coffins, by Mark hernberg
they found his body still frozen on the mountain
after searching for years was it providence
that brought them to the plane’s wreckage?
having nothing else they put his corpse
in a 55-gallon oil drum his coffin
filled with the sweet musky diesel his funeral incense
entombing him forever did they sing hymns
as they rolled him into the crevasse?
you had flown together for years, pilots and missionaries
twin engines of providence: Borneo, Papua, Indonesia
(lots of near misses, boy, believe me!)
and I do believe you.
he had lost his son, you had lost years in the internment camp
your wife and child caged 100 miles away
(I view it as a blessing, all those things)
and I believe you.
that night he flew into the fog alone
you believe that providence doesn’t only bring you out of hardship
but deeper in through beyond
he ascended into this liminal whiteness
doubtful border between heaven and earth consumed
when I am lost in the fog who will come for me?
Providence grant me a strange coffin
steadfast pallbearers who kept searching
lodge me in the icy throat of a mountain
there are hymns my heart still sings