Day of the Dead: The Bride
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

The newlyweds in the mural
stand apart from townspeople,
whose skeletons carry on as in life.
The couple’s eyes meet mine.
The bridegroom appears genial,
dapper in morning dress.
But does his beloved wear
bridal satin, or a shroud?
Bony cheeks, chalky smile.
How dry he must find her kisses!
Her eyes –
dormant volcanic craters,
Pacific’s deepest chasms –
swallow light,
swallow breath,
swallow even the bloom
of the youngest flesh.
I look into those orbs, see
scarlet leaves dancing,
November roses full and bright,
a dying woman calling
her dead husband’s name.
Her specter treads a marigold aisle
in a midnight visit.

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