All five of us
her three daughters and both of theirs
laughing in the bedroom upstairs
pulling on shoes
halfway into black dresses
collapsing
with laughter, grief
the morning of her funeral.
Her daughter, my mother
spraying perfume on the air
runs through it in her stocking feet,
we erupt, falling over each other
heaped onto the beds, doubled up
roaring, trying to shush each other
but laughing worse
we cannot stop.

The men downstairs
her sons and theirs
making ready to close the coffin, wait.
They know us well
and this room that was hers
where the women laugh.

The street outside fills with cars
and the town gathers,
dresses askew, we pull ourselves together
and emerge, all five, in black
to stand into the rosary
for what would be – though we didn’t know it then –
the last time.

The grief years ahead to shatter us hard
away from each other
without her.