funeral cultural emeralds

yesterday went to funeral home
i write about it because
it's a new cultural experience.
this is contemporary Shanghai practice
for people with social benefits
stemming from having worked previously.
the lobby of grand building
families gather in rooms to say goodbye to the deceased
writing the names of visitors
signing burial and incineration papers
my nephew wearing green shoes.
remembering when my grandfather died. 
my grandfather had remarried.
widow wore green to funeral.
my cousin cheered her up 
"i notice you're wearing green.
i only do so when i wear emeralds."
- it's supposed make you smile.
my name among the visitors
Xiao Yun's third eye is illuminated,
feels like she is enlightened.
placing symbols of ancient  coins, 
Xiao Yun's favorite dresses, pajamas,
paper renminbi, euros and dollars.
lastly placing all yellow flowers
sealing casket shut for incineration
outside walked by tax office
ironically reminded me of the statement attributed to Ben Franklin
"nothing is certain in life except death and taxes."
all visitors ate at restaurant
had to take boxed leftovers
received towel and chocolate gift.
later the family will receive urn of loved one's ashes.
one burns incense for about two days in a row.
after which the ashes urn is buried.
for seven years the family
on anniversary of the day
burns incense sticks and chant.
this is the Chinese custom.

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