A long tongue of orange
licks across the sky’s dusky mouth.
My hand is a heavy scale; I balance
a cup of chai tea and sad news in my palm.
Death, life’s surly sister,
presses mightily against a barred door.
She ignores deep prayers
and wobbly wind brushing
against rain-stained windows.
A phantom poised over a narrow bed,
she swiftly swallows her sister’s breath.
Stars lose the light in their eyes.
Darkness spreads over her ageless skin.
A large hush leans against the walls.
Intolerant of silence,
the eulogy fills the tiny room.
Struggling to conceal death’s incursion,
struggling to fill everything lost,
a potpourri of crushed cloves
and cinnamon simmers in a warmer.
The strong fragrance
a rosary hanging in the chilly air.