from Part 6

Working The List

Somewhere The Day of the Dead is a parade
with children disguised as animals and young
women wearing bright skirts that flare in the breeze.
This is the day widows apply to social security.
The day of death certificates and waiting in offices
for their number to be called. This is the day dependent 
children sit with their hands folded in their laps,
as mothers think of dental bills, shoes, this year’s
grown-out pants, the shirts of the older now ragged
on the younger. This is the day of the night of the absence
in bed. The hollow sound of the wind at a loose pane
like a rattling of teeth. This is what they told her would 
happen:  birth certificates, sixty days before a first check,
a fruit basket from the local church, untouchable clothes   
hanging in his closet. Black dress, black stockings, black
smudges under the eyes, what if this were a small village,
the old women wailing at the bier before it was lit.
Would she stop fidgeting? Stop toting up numbers?
Pay the extra rent for a new refrigerator?  
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
Contents | The Weak Force