April 22, 2005: Poem One in the “Mourning” Series

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.

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