by Deda Kavanagh

For weeks at the office we’d tiptoed

past her story-telling face

her reddened eyes turned in

to the uncanny shelter of the monitor.

Now, gentle Sue’s brother has passed

taken by a brain-swell.

God tells me or I tell myself

I’ll go to the wake

far away, down the shore.

when I say yes, it feels right

like the first time I put on a scapular

(before the felt began to itch).

At the funeral home in Point Pleasant,

I hope my face will be a hand

and make her return to work less rickety.

As we chat and I meet her husband,

a little lake rests on the rim

at the bottom of her left eyelid.

I stay not five minutes,

my bike and I go off to ride flat roads:

fancy sea houses, creamy air, dead-fish scent.

It’s Indian Summer, with pop-star roses

and durable daisies, but it’s the dried,

late, benumbed, hydrangeas who steal the show.

Deda Kavanagh’s poems have been published in U.S. 1 Worksheets, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Freshet, Kelsey Review, and Lehigh Valley Literary Review. She received an Honorable Mention in the 2009 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award competition. A member of the Central Bucks Bicycle Club, she rides an Iron Horse road bike with an FSA wheel set. She works at NJM (New Jersey Manufacturer’s Insurance Co.) in West Trenton as an underwriter.

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