The Dead Mother’s Children Kneeling in Love

 

White and red roses

defend the mother’s coffin:

cherry stained,

her interlocked hands in prayer

draped in veil gauze,

her gold dress

the same she married in,

as the procession of her children

grieves in a black and white flow.

 

In a black and white flow,

each child lights a votive candle

that reflects the sanctuary lamp,

their tears and prayers—

hating themselves

for the gasping erasure inside,

the love not returned in time.

 

The love not returned in time

before the tears

of the blue Virgin

praying over her,

black hair

matching black hair,

alabaster hands

blessing burnt 

brown ones, anticipating

heaven’s restoration.

 

Anticipating heaven’s restoration

the congregation

steeple their hands and

chant for her dreams

to true,

her now

motherless children

to rise and stay united.

 

Rising and staying united

all her children

awkwardly cradle

their old gifted rosaries,

skipping Glory Be’s,

misremembering Our Fathers,

finally hiding in their tears

and the pale oval beads,

 

the pale ovals of their hands

buried in the vanilla scent

of candy florecitas

half mauled

in sugary communion,

their faith in confection

as strong as

believing their mother

would never die,

 

believing their dead mother 

would always protect them

even while the cancer within

ate her silence and resolve,

finally leaving them living

in a world of dollhouse sermons

and scented flowers with thorns,

 

scented flowers and thorns

and death marrying death,

matroning childhood,

life in its very pinkness,

child to mother to father

 

father to mother to child,

until night falls into blackness,

to black rot dusting

even lion and lamb,

 

lamb and lion

consecrated

to the last letter,

 

the last letter

of God’s tears,

the tears of now,

 

until now the tears

are nothing

but the chants of cries,

 

the song and chants of cries

born sober in the now

and the chant of tears

 

the tears of chants

and the children kneeling,

others kneeling,

 

kneeling others,

until there is

only the fall,

 

only the fall

of kneeling

in the now,

 

now in the fall

of kneeling

for love of each other

 

each other now in love,

or thinking they are in love

now with each other,

 

each other now in love,

knowing they are now in love

or soon will be.