Waiting for the Umpire
Ralph never planned on dying
but when he did, he was swept away
like a child's kite blown astray.
When he arrived at his destination,
he heard angels singing, harps playing
and Louis Armstrong on the trumpet
so he figured this must be heaven.
A nice old man at the gate, however,
waved him away without directions.
This confused Ralph until he found
an open window in the basement,
climbed in and found an elevator
that took him to the top floor.
There a smiling angel with big wings
walked him up a thousand concrete stairs
and showed him to an empty seat.
Ralph was in the bleachers now
with millions of others, simply waiting.
None of them had a cushion to sit on.
But down in the padded box seats
Ralph saw rabbis, priests and ministers
sitting in the front row, simply waiting.
His barber, Al, was sitting with them.
For 30 years Al had been asking Ralph
while trimming his few remaining tufts of hair
if he had finally been saved or was he still lost.
Ralph would always tell Al he believed in God
but that every year he cheated on his taxes.
Sin is sin, Ralph would quietly point out.
Faith is all you need, Al would shout.
Seeing his barber now in the front row,
Ralph figured that maybe Al had stopped
cheating on his dying wife.
Otherwise, Ralph figured, Al would be sitting
in the cheap seats, waiting with everyone else
in the amphitheater for the Umpire to appear.