The rose window, obscured with scaffolding, the sun, more August than April, beaming down on the Church of St.Vincent Ferrer on Lexington and 66th, firing up the stained glass walls, casting those gathered in candy colored halleluiahs. In his bright blue suit, my husband on my right and I am holding his left hand, rubbing the muscle between forefinger and thumb. I am trying not to look at the enlarged photo, resting on an easel, before a stepped wooden platform, of my mother in law, taken this past thanksgiving, grinning through her glasses, soft round shoulders draped in a scarf that was a gift from my daughter, exotic floral, on white silk, all bordered in black. A sanctuary crowded with Easter lilies beginning to curl at their edges. I am trying not to dwell on the black metal box, the size of a shoebox, holding her remains. Instead I am thinking about my husband’s body. His broad shoulders, the narrow hips, long skinny legs, all upholstered in a satin hide, pale as milk so quick to burn, and his hands, skilled like his mother’s in animating the inanimate, and how I never thanked her for this gift. This gift that lives on my skin, this gift that even now, makes me a sinner. Because I am greedy and lustful, proud he is mine and no “our fathers,” no benedictions, no stale biscuit dunked in strong wine can ease my mind from ashes to ashes, dust to disease, and the stations of the cross winking on the sidelines, and how we seek shelter in walls of glass. I seek the apple that fell from the tree. I seek the coin through a hole in my pocket. I seek revenge on this faulty design, an antidote to the unbent coil. The man in white robes, standing at the alter, raises his arms, and we all stand.
Yes, I say, perfect, wear the blue suit,
When he asks.
She would have approved, I think
A suit fitted close to his still taut skin,
Later, I plan to peel it off,
Give death a run for his money.
Mia Sara is an actress and poet living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in PANK, Cultural Weekly, The Kit Kat Review, Forge, The Dirty Napkin, St. Ann’s Review, and others. For more please visit: http://wheretofindmiasara.tumblr.com/