Nil Nisi of the Dead

PoliceFuneral by Elvert Barnes

                       —variously attributed to Diogenes and Chilon


Nothing but good: that’s what I’ve always read.
They never met her. All the papers said
How loving, loved, admired, and esteemed
She was. A paragon—or so it seemed.
But they weren’t there the day I heard her say
How pushy was that Jew to get his way.
Of course she said it underneath her breath.
Now everyone can celebrate her death.

So feisty, yet so loveable and warm:
A mensch who stood for every good reform
(Left undefined). That’s how the papers saw
Him—gruff but kind. He’d rarely rub you raw,
Unless to get his way. Then he would let it out—
No trace of modest calm or grace or doubt—
And twist his visage in a bully’s rage
They missed on the obituary page.



Image: “POLICE FUNERALS ” by  Elvert Barnes , licensed under CC BY 2.0

Len Krisak
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