A warm day in spring, the sky
weighed grey and mournful. My legs
itched inside black pantyhose. Standing
on the hot asphalt we struggled to strangle
the awkward silence standing between us.
My robust, very Italian grandmother
told me my black dress was too tight.
This meant she loved me.
A man sauntered down the lush hill
and flagged us toward him. We marched,
our blackness heavy against the intense green
of manicured lawns.
Our destination was a tiny, toy-like coffin,
enveloped by brilliant white carnations.
The minister’s muffled words
were unable to penetrate the
dense fog of our sorrow. So
we stood, all of us, in a huddle.
Hands clasped in hands, clasped in hands,
clasped in hands. Keeping each other from
falling or fainting or dying.