The dead must be overjoyed

to find that heaven is exactly as advertised:

a steady 72 degrees Fahrenheit,


faint breeze with a scent of salt water,

no pain, disease, dyspepsia

hunger, thirst, jealousy or crime.


Predictably, the newly dead race through heaven

on wings and legs that will never tire,

test hand-springs and air loops,

crash into each other and laugh,

pull others’ halos down over their shoulders

to try and pin arms and wings.


As this happened every day for eons

the long-term angels are not amused

but float past in fixation

on some window of ethereal vision,

until distracted by a now bored newcomer

who asks what they are watching.


Still capable of bemused smirks

the ancient angels explain

how they tired of watching worlds

of bizarre sex acts and digestive malfunctions

or the interplay of good versus evil,

had heard every lofty thought,

were benumbed by every human behavior.


The newly dead knit incorporeal brows,

wonder if heaven is a hell of boredom …

and then they begin to watch and learn

of eternity and possibility,

always possibility.


Ken Shiovitz

January, 2011

First line inspired from Ted Kooser, Old Cemetery