In loving memory of Goh Mei Mei, passed 4/4/16
you are always too late:
a family emergency involving a hospital,
your pet died,
someone got really good news,
or that family reunion you might not have wanted to go to anyway but it would've been nice to know about,
because in the heat of the moment, no one tells you,
because you just weren't there.
Life goes on without you, timezones ahead,
So a funeral will happen, and you will be too late
to fly home with no budget.
You will be too late to find out alternatives for your presence.
You will have been too late, anyway, to do anything
about failing health and slipping away and being there
to provide the last few moments of comfort.
You will be too late to help in any way:
the calling of the relatives,
the calling of the newspapers for obituaries,
the calling of the funeral director,
you will be calling in too late,
you will not be calling in after all,
you have no way of calling in to the funeral,
you have no way of calling one last time,
because you have no way to be on time, timezones behind.
You call, and you get an echo
from the horizon of the Greenwich Meridian,
out of reach,
out of your time,
frayed satellite signals across the setting sun.
Turning round to catch them from the other side of the globe
makes you even later.
You will see her death mask only on a tiny chatscreen,
fluorescent light bouncing off the glass cover of her coffin.
The sunshine streams around the ghost feast,
while twilight sets in outside your occidental window.
You will not be clutching chrysanthemums, nor circling her coffin.
And you will make your apologies:
I am sorry I could not be there.
I am sorry to be too many timezones away,