From The Moment You Died

rro0035's picture

From The Moment You Died
                           for my father

From the moment you died
Until it was time to bury you
It poured wind-swept torrential rains
Lightning and thunder
Shook the coffin your wife chose
From a full-color glossy catalogue
 
It rained ceaselessly day and night
Gray permeated the meals we ate in the kitchen
While you lay just a glance away in the living room
Clutching a set of black rosary beads
Your hands folded under a dainty white veil
 
Our little cement house saturated
As the family stayed up all night
Keeping you company
Joking about you from time to time
Crying from time to time
 
It was someone else’s nightmare
My rummaging through tin cans of crackers
And cheese to eat at 4:30 a.m.
My sweeping and mopping around you
Arranging the folding chairs your morning guests
Would sit in to visit with you
Assuring myself they’d be color coordinated
Just as you’d wish
Blues with blues
Grays with grays
 
It had to be someone else’s nightmare
As daylight shown through our front door
That never closed all night
Revealing the white water crashing into the land
The sky wide open and crying
 
I stood in your kitchen
Watching a procession of shadowy figures
Under umbrellas one by one
They came to verify it was you
It was really you
 
Salomon Mercado Torres
 
Clutching those black rosary beads
Dressed in your brown polyester suit
Lying in that box your wife picked out
From a color catalogue
Toñita the mortician provided

© Nancy Mercado. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 10 April 2015.

Centro Voices (ISSN: 2379-3864).
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Centro Voices, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies or Hunter College, CUNY.