Heavenly BBQ

when my momma died
folks from town were good to help out
sitting vigil at Fair Haven Funeral Home
dropping off food at house, kitchen table laden with
sweets and meats, the incessant hum of
twenty-four cup coffee pot percolating on the counter
those first few nights
we coulda used something stronger
like the coffee I drink in Portland
a latté, please, triple shot, with a
little Bulleit added from my hip pocket
but in Oklahoma we pretend at
teetotalers and the coffee’s
lukewarm, the color of dishwater
before the funeral we picked at food
prepared by loving fingers of
The Ladies Auxiliary.
in Oklahoma we’ve got
special dishes for occasions like these
funeral rice, sad cake, Virginia’s baked ham
everything tastes and looks the same
no juicy, succulent morsels to
tempt appetites gone numb
but I expected nothing more
we came home to more of the same--
a decade’s worth of Campbell’s
cream of chicken soup thickened
casserole upon goopy casserole
when a rack of ribs came knocking and
my sister’s and I stood at the kitchen sink
juice running over chins
fingers messy with fat and meat and bone
and sauce and salt and smoke tingled
joy just yesterday believed gone
a New Orleans second line done
Oklahoma style with masticating
lips, teeth, tongue, jaw

Poetic Asides Prompt: Day 16

Maybe it's a little too close to tax day, but today's prompt is to write a death poem. You can write about a specific death or consider death as an idea. In the tradition of Emily Dickinson (and other poets), you could even address Death as an entity. Or you can surprise us with a different spin on the subject.

Written on Day 17 - about the first time I felt any joy at all after my mother's unexpected death.