Death’s the brand, the dishwashing wonder
For encrusted reputations
Men who the minute they’re laid in a box
Are elevated several stations.

The widow who wore a lifetime’s tongue
His arrogance, his armpits, his fears
Starts in at once, marital housework
Mourners help with crocodile tears.

Tight-fisted, short-tempered, belittler
Humping her mute, averted eyes wild
Now: “Poor Theo, hardly complained at the end.
Thin soup and the morphine. Cried like a child.”

Sixty years she sweeps, buckets and bleach
Her rewrite unchallenged—Respect For The Dead.
The hospital burned his stained blue pyjamas.
She might have a decade. Clean, wide double bed.

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