Crushed Red Velvet

Crossing the parlor floor (in your patent leather
Mary Janes, size four)
to pray over
the body of a man you
for eight years,

you stop to hide under the seat of
a crushed red velvet
and much sat upon chair,
and you have to wonder:
will anyone find you if you stay here

Forever seems like a long time
but it might not be so long
that coffin were just a bad joke

your dad came up with,
and he suddenly sat up,
smiling at you and your grieving mother,
your pregnant, crying sister,
and your balding brother who doesn't know
in four years
he will have a heart attack
and four kids under his belt
        at the age of 27.

     It's not hard for you to believe
     your dad would play such a trick -
     Remember the time he told you he was going to
a dance      then showed up with oatmeal
     and a pumpkin
     on his head in a Halloween haunted house?
     Remember how scary - he looked just like
Frankenstein              even without the oatmeal on his face.
     Your Daddy always was a prankster, and the best
     in the world.

You're not thinking,
as you crouch behind your velvet hideout,
        watching black-heeled pumps
        and leather loafers
        pass by

     (crushing the flowered
     carpet beneath them as they pad
     toward your father's body,
     laid out on crushed red velvet lining),

that in twelve years you will pad
softly down a crushed white velvet aisle
without the man who lies there calmly
(while your crushed red velvet

young eyes

glance toward him,
hope that he'll stand up)
standing at your arm.