“After All,” a Reading

First Moments in Heaven

I’ve always been disdainful of anthropological depictions of heaven as wish-fulfillment, so in the poem “After All,” I take the concept to a ridiculous extreme.

After All

What has Ursula Hazelwood Hunt Blanton
been up to in Heaven all this time?

Shelling beans, watching soaps,
cackling among gossiping seraphs and cherubim?

I’d like to think so, along with her
sisters, Ruby and Pearl, up there
over yonder in Heaven’s Baptist wing
doing what they loved most doing
but without life’s worries
gnawing away at the back of their heads.

And what about their husbands,
where are they? Certainly, not with them,
but outside behind some cloudy bank
sneaking a drink, enjoying the fiddle music
of some winged, yodeling hillbilly gone to his reward.

Mama’s up there now as well,
maybe with daddy, his restlessness abated.
Curled up on a sofa, they smoke cigarettes
that can’t kill them, chuckling
about how, after all, it all turned out all right.

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