by Allison Whittenberg

On that gorgeous spring day, the strong sun mocks.
It was so close to her June birthday.
Couldn’t she have lasted two more weeks?
Who knew she had a timebomb?
Who knew she had this hidden defect?
I should have been born clairvoyant.
That day, distant relations ate sloppily.
Macaroni salad slid off their spoons onto their chins.
They made it a party.
There was chicken: fried, braised, broiled, roasted… so much damn food.
Anger is my favorite part of the grief process.
I do it well.
The hincty lady down the street came by fussing for her pan.
She had left her pan.
She had to have her pan.
I’d lost a person; she’d lost a pan.
I gave her her pan, told her where to shove it, slammed the door.
I was old enough to know that pets, flowers, people die, but not mothers
Daddy’s usual husky, tender voice offered no solace. He crumbled like toast.
My brother contacted his therapist.
My sister still walks around with her face.
Daffodils bloomed.
And Otis Redding played on the stereo that Fa Fa Fa Fa sad song.