for David Shannon
“I used to think that Heaven was palatial. I was told it had pearly gates and was paved with gold. But now I hope they are wrong about that. I would prefer to find that Heaven was a small town with a bandstand in the park and a great many trees, and I would know everybody in it.”
-Anne Tyler, Searching for Caleb
I like to think it’s some place familiar,
that when you show up,
you feel like you’ve been invited to the party.
Somewhere warm where you get to drink good beer
on the fresh-cut lawns of houses built on stilts.
I hope that it never smells like our high school cafeteria
and that Spoons, the ugly frat cat, didn’t follow you there.
If you’re lucky, you can hear Van Morrison crooning
from a radio playing inside the house,
and God stops by every once in a while,
to sit and listen too.
Maybe he’ll strike up an American Spirit
and sit in a lawn chair across from you,
remembering his glory days:
And one day for rest?
Shoot, I put the world together in record time.
He’ll drink through a straw while he tells you
about the times he messed up:
Yeah Pompeii was a real shame.
Or maybe he won’t speak at all. He’ll just sit,
picking at the frayed edges of that woven lawn chair.
Anyway, I hope it’s nothing too proud.
Doves don’t wake you up in the morning
and clouds aren’t floating at eye level.
If anything, I like to think it’s just a nice place
for you to sit and not feel like you’re waiting.
— Kane Hollingsworth