It wasn’t maroon carpet
stretched one hundred yards to the front altar.
It wasn’t once-black pantsuit
It wasn’t the velvet hat glued
askew, at a left angle.
stinking the stilled sanctuary.
It would be echoing
somber snifflings into tissues
that amplified her pent-up sneeze
burst above open casket.
Beads of spray floated onto his face.
Snow, it seemed, or glitter, sank into skin
touched once along some beach, down
some boardwalk, a red balloon tied to her child wrist.
Tissue boxes, dusty pews,
the old man with something to shine about.
M. E. Riley currently tramps through Louisiana swamps; the cigarettes burn, the whiskies sweat, and she’ll tell her stories to anyone who stops by for a spell.
She is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Bayou Magazine, as well as a regular contributor to Bayou‘s blog. Work is forthcoming or has appeared in Belle Journal, Tales from the South VI, Vortex XXXV, Vortex XXXVI, and 501 Life.