Free Casket Day

by  Jennie R. Leishman

From the window of a grey zepplin puttering
between skyscrapers, it will look
like hundreds of shadowy boats
are floating on invisible rivers, but down
on the streets you will see black
pine boxes strapped to the roofs of station wagons
with children in the back seats trying to read
each other's palms, giggling as they trace 
life lines with tiny fingers.

Black boxes will also pass by balanced
on the heads of pedestrians who keep their hands 
hidden in pockets, clutching
back door keys and old photographs.
From beneath the green awning
of the drugstore, yo will watch
college students on bicycles with caskets
scotch-taped to their backs and filled
with text books; they will ride 
with their chins resting
on silver handlebars. A troop
of Boy Scouts will carry one home
for a widow, carry it upside-down
like a canoe, through the ghettos.
You'll be at the soda fountain
asking for a Strawberry Fizz
when small boxes float by low
on Radio Flyers pulled by children
who take turns riding on top. At home
some children will be reluctant to leave 
these boxes in the backs of closets, under 
beds, waiting. In their backyards,
with forks sneaked out of silverware drawers,
they will begin to open the ground.