Honouring the Ancestors by Phil McNulty

That Saturday put me in mind of the Tojarans,
parading their dead in their best clothes,
or Ching-Ming, the tomb sweeping day,
where everyone brings a picnic and it's a family outing.
A happy necromancy.
 
You see we were all there,
in the Care Home garden,
in huddles around our soon to be deceased.
 
Talking to them,
at them,
over them,
round them,
and finally giving up.
Leaving them to their dim-lit peace.
 
Then we drank the beer, ate the burgers,
watched the grandchildren on the inflatable slide
or in the ball pool just doing what life demands.
Being there and carrying on.
Indifferent to the blood lines scattered around the lawn,
to the massed generations.
Simply playing out their new beginnings
with no sense that their timeline
was right there.
Watching them.