The Next Best Heaven

This sixth circle is not a place to receive
many accolades, peopled with the likes found
in the backgrounds of famous paintings.
The nearly noble men and women so close
to smiling, are they the accountants for
the truly wonderful individuals we all
aspire to become? This can't concern us.
By our calculations, we are those whose
final tally needed that indivisible remainder
that keeps us from that one, one floor up.
Here is Mr. Burlap, a friend, to be fair,
always pleasant to see, a barber who knew
a passable joke, a salacious bit of gossip
had those two weeks not passed since.
His manner might make him simple,
but it's remarkable here, next to those
whom we can vaguely remember
from the signing of the Declaration,
or was it Versailles? It's hard to say
in this sixth heaven as the fairly decent
turns of near fortune make the afternoon
the place where contentment reigns
down in its drab, modest glory, afternoons
the stuff of after-conversation conversation.
And here's our patron saint, known
in his day to whistle rather pleasantly.