at her graveside service we huddled
around a hole which seemed far
far too small for her
too small to contain her contagious laugh
her giant spirit of generosity
or her tornado of a temper

the grass, dead and brown crinkled
beneath my feet as I shifted one to the other
over and over
while the silence spread on and on
after the preacher asked if anyone wanted
to speak

but I knew—my whole family
staring down at our hands, at the ground knew—
we’d speak to her tonight
as we had every night since she’d passed
trying to coax her to the light or
at the very least
get her to stop breaking the dishes
as she raged against the unfairness of it all.

—Rhonda Parrish