Black Dresses and Bloody Marys

More people than you would think attended
Her memorial. At 85, An Avid Gardener, she won
Top prizes at the flower shows, and at seventy ascended
To chair the town’s conservation commission.

The minister mentioned her cherished rain gauge.
Her youngest daughter remembered the short
Plays she and her cousins penned and would stage
For the friends and literati who used her tennis court.

The noon reception following was a smash—
Caviar and sushi, smoked tuna on rye crisp;
Cheeses, grapes, and in the lime drinks, a splash
Of grenadine. An incredible lobster bisque.

High heels and sandals on the wobbly lawn,
The tanned arms of summer reaching for champagne.
Smiles, a blue linen napkin covering a yawn
As the relatives meet strangers, forced to entertain.

While the college girls the caterers hired survey
The table of grilled salmon and asparagus spears,
Wondering how many bottles of Pouilly-Fuisse
They’ll steal for the beach and chill with the beers.

Pastries on the counter with the quiches.
It’s a pageant of black dresses and Bloody Marys;
Lemon squares, biscotti, Danish with peaches,
Servers in white shirts pouring obituaries.

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