After hurricane Ike, reburying the dead......
by June Zaner

Aunt Tilda lay just there, right under that overturned oak tree
Before the surge’s like before....her casket is out again.

She rode the waves all the way to Cameron in the last storm
And ended up in a floating bed of seaweed and bait buckets
She had yellow rope twisted through her casket handles and
Something orange was leaking out.
They drained her for a week and every day we’d come and sit
Beside her casket and sometimes sing to her...”Abide with me,
Fast falls the evening tide” seemed just right somehow.
When she was all emptied out, we asked if we could open the casket,
Have a look. Aunt Tilda wouldn’t mind, she liked children with a
Curious mind and by now she would be dry and maybe even salty looking,
Like a pickled egg left in the brine too long.
Of course they told us no, for we were still children that year.

When Aunt Tilda took her leave of the cemetery this time we didn’t
Rush down to check on her, to see which way she’d headed.
We knew that she had always loved Cameron where a boy she’d dated
Once lived, before he broke her heart and moved away.
We figured that when the sky became a rolling solid way of wind and
Sea that she would high-tail it past the cement angel sitting at her head
And hitch a ride to Cameron on a mat of shingles and vinyl siding.....
Maybe her ride would be easier this time and we wouldn’t have to drain
Her for so long. We’ll look for her next week...we’ll put on our tall
Rubber boots and head out for the flat boats that take folks into the
Shallow waters where everything piles up when the storm has past.

I won’t ask permission this time to open her casket, but leave her dreaming
Of her beau from Louisiana and all the dances that they yet might do...
A liquid, watery doe-see-doe, carried into secret corners and hiding places
Where the music repeats itself over and over and over, fusing silence into sound.

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