That the bead-board wainscoting is smoothed
To a marshmallow texture. Both thick and dense.
The brass chandelier arms each carry an exquisite
Cut glass light bowl, etched filigree flowers and scalloped edges.
This room, nearly square, is a full two stories high.
And the alter is reached by four broad shallow steps.
The room is airy this May morning.
Neither cold nor hot. Nor warm. Nor bright.
Four huge vases of cut flowers: daisies, lilies, roses.
Twelve over twelves showcase the parish’s treasure:
Eleven colored glass panes. Blue and violet.
And in the center of each sash, one small pane with figures:
East has grape vines and berries, North has the Trinity,
South a crown of thorns. The west wall carries the wide doors.
The brass band she wanted sits ready on the left, each with
Instrument poised and ready; the clarinetist has her eyes closed.
The organist takes up his euphonium and the band breaks into
Semper Fidelis March. Helen’s family file out. We all watch with concern
The widower who is beyond us. His head sunken on his breast, his feet shuffling
In the slippers that, alone among his garments, fit him. Surrounded by his sons and daughters, is
Terrifyingly and transparently alone. Forty seven
Fortysevenyears. And now she is dead.