after the funeral, when the casserole dishes are stacked
like the vaults in St. Louis Cemeteries, and the letters and cards
have stopped coming--that is when everyone says "What a shame,
so youthful, so full of life, so sudden, so tragic."
"I went there once on business." "I liked to go
for Mardi Gras."
The survivors wander down empty streets, looking for artifacts
of the imperfect, but treasured, past: a song, a taste, an anecdote--
anything that connects them to the beloved. The death is called
by some, a murder by others, but is officially recorded
as an accident, and accidents do happen, and life is for the living.
But the forgotten survivors do not count; too much is required
to meet their needs, and anyway, grieving is a private matter.
Time heals all wounds. Let the dead bury the dead.
Laissez le bons temps rouler.
Elayne Dees has published her poetry, short fiction, creative
nonfiction, and essays in a number of publications. A series of
her poems is being read on "The Naturalist's Datebook,"
a segment of Martha Stewart Living Radio. Diane, who lives in
Louisiana, has poetry forthcoming in Mobius, Out of
Line, HazMat Review, The Eleventh Muse, The
Binnacle, and the anthology, Hurricane Blues: How Katrina
and Rita Ravaged a Nation.
Diane Elayne Dees