My Father at a Funeral
“He’s going to be okay,” I hear her tell him.
But he’s not.
Her tone is too familiar
and the rain doesn’t stop.
It keeps rolling from the valleys of the tin roof,
forming a closed curtain,
and I imagine Dad on the other end of the line,
hunched on the edge of his bed,
studying the ash building on his cigarette.
Two weeks later we dress in pressed black
and attend the funeral of my father’s best friend.
We walk to the front of the large but warm lit room
and take our seats among stiff suits
and fists clinching tissues.
Dad nudges me.
“Short motherfucker,” he whispers,
nodding at the undersized casket.
A tall man with olive skin
sitting on the pew in front of us overhears
and the bounce of his shoulders reveals a quiet chuckle.
After the service Jay hugs Dad and tells him, “Good to see you.”
“Yeah, well you know I’ll be at yours too,” he jokes.
They exchange boy-like smiles,
and the room breathes.
Outside the funeral parlor, Dad smokes with damp eyes.
He shifts his weight from one foot to the other,
swaying with grief.
Other funeral-goers gather around him,
ready with condolences,
but once he speaks,
the heavy air unfolds into laughter.
Walking back to the car,
sad and unwelcome thoughts gather inside of me.
I ward them off with a silent promise.
When you can’t be there, we’ll still laugh.
I swear to God I’ll make them laugh.
Cindy Sue Moved to the Country
Her bedroom walls are made of glass.
It’s her theater, she tells me,
the earth is her show.
The blue jays and cardinals,
the bands of hummingbirds
all of September,
the way the trees
undress in late fall.
She sits at the center
of a polka-dotted bedspread.
A wine glass balances
on a hardback novel.
She talks with her hands
like her father,
the left in a circular motion
above her head,
willing into existence
a forgotten word.
I want to hear her,
breathe her thoughts,
like I did every afternoon
on Mission Street,
but I can’t—
over the voices
Cindy Sue is a poem that’s left me.
A painting that aches me.
A photograph in the place
we both belong.
Heather Minette is the author of Rooftops and Other Poems (Blue Hour Press, 2013). She earned her M.A. in Literature, Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, and B.A. in Humanities from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Her work has been featured on Freshly Pressed, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and appeared most recently in Vox Poetica, The Galway Review, and Eunoia Review. She lives in Kemah, Texas with her husband and son, and writes at www.heatherminette.com