Before the Funeral

by Shannon Amidon

In my dream everyone who knows the story
has a part. One drags your body to the river’s edge.
Another smears blood into the splintering floor,
wild to clean. Someone else remembers the brain matter sprayed,
the sticky crowbar in the hollow center of the salt mine, and runs
to fetch it. But you, you only smile at me offering no endearments
or consolations. You open your milky eyes, vacant blue irises
covered with new death, and say nothing. Even in my dream
you do not forgive us. We leave you like animals, no prayers
or gentle closing of your lids. When we think of you, we cannot pray
or hum a single note. A black hate blossoms in our hearts for a world
without your sweet breath. The air around your body breaks our lungs.
I wake just in time to guide our children down their first fatherless road,
each tightly griping a soft lock of your hair.

Author’s note: These five poems are from the second section of the manuscript “Wish for an Unknown Color,” which tells the story of a crime of passion that takes place in the piney hills of North Louisiana. Another group is forthcoming in Willow Springs.