by Loretta Diane Walker

A long tongue of orange
licks across the sky’s dusky mouth.

My hand is a heavy scale; I balance
a cup of chai tea and sad news in my palm.

Death, life’s surly sister,
presses mightily against a barred door.

She ignores deep prayers
and wobbly wind brushing

against rain-stained windows.
A phantom poised over a narrow bed,

she swiftly swallows her sister’s breath.
Stars lose the light in their eyes.

Darkness spreads over her ageless skin.
A large hush leans against the walls.

Intolerant of silence,
the eulogy fills the tiny room.

Struggling to conceal death’s incursion,
struggling to fill everything lost,

a potpourri of crushed cloves
and cinnamon simmers in a warmer.

The strong fragrance
a rosary hanging in the chilly air.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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