Children gathered around the flowered
bier and sang dirges. Burst, his mother
cried to the silent God who called her
to this. Hidden women clinked tins
of oil in the dark. I heard my voice
join the lamentations for a man I could
barely believe in. I wept for him and
for the death of my faith.
The thrust of rose petals
into the air was a stutter
of my heart. Roses rained
over my body, their soft touch
igniting me with beauty and fear.
My daughter’s petals fell into
my hands, a burning baptism.
I followed the bier to the cemetery,
the mourners’ chants breaking open
the night valley, ripping away the
last shred of protection I’d stretched
across my heart. My body thrashed,
my voice failed, my bones crumbled.
Every word of trust I’d given this man
was crushed beneath my grief.
A man in black robes sang
about dry bones in the
desert. My black bones will
shudder with life, my
dead body will be covered
with skin, my unbelief will
stand in the desert, watching
the grave take its first breath.