2015-2016, Poem


Featured in the 2015 Fall issue of Rambunctious

Stephanie Dushay, '16

A room of shades.
My cousins in black,
some I haven’t seen in years;
my mom, somber in a long skirt,
torn black ribbon affixed above her breast pocket.
The coffin is wheeled in, squeaky on the temple floor
(she almost swatted that fly, Mom confides later -
her mother hated insects)
and we rise and sit and stand again.
The walls are filled with bodies.

Their names are written in gold
(-plated nickel)
and coins balance
against the curve of my grandmother’s ‘y’.

On the way home, Mother wipes her face,
ribbon still pinned to her jacket,
wads of tissues in her pockets. I think she’s used them all this week.
Dad coughs in the front seat, still battling the cold
from a month ago. He didn’t want to make her leave, and she
didn’t want to tell him when to go, but we all have to sleep
and we have to be home by Tuesday.
When did I become the one
to tell us when to go?

When do I become the one
who places rocks above their names?