Shiksa on a Box
by Lori Williams

I sit shivah; drape mirrors
with crumbled tap pants and teddies,
dried flower corsages, things that do not vanish
with a gaze.

Friends bring sweets; eclairs and sherry,
coconut cookies, bundles of words
tied pretty by well-meaning tongues.
Still lovely sticks in my throat like
a lump of honey.

We remember the dead; the narrow hips,
the men who pined, bone structure, pride.
No mention of lonely, as if
it were not part of me, even then,
but they wouldn't believe it

so I talk about the rich guy from Milan
and work my way around the world
ending up in a kitchen in Brooklyn,
fingering rosary beads at a Jewish rite.

They kiss my cheeks and tiptoe over
my grief - promise lunch, ears, better
days to come, and file out, duty done.
I eat an eclair, get drunk on sweet wine
and hope someone brings lilies
next time.

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