It wasn't as I'd imagined. You lying like a giant doll
with a grimace, in place of that beaming smile.
Eyelids fused and lashes dormant,
little feathers still part of you.
Your lips painted purpley blue, nails garish
with a matching hue and Jesus dangling
off the pyramid of your fingers.
I stood and stared, urged the flowery scarf
to rise a little, with an intake of breath.
My mind played tricks, sparked a smithereen
of hope that you were sleeping.
Strangers shuffled in, cards in hands, passed over
to our mother, beckoned those to see her baby,
five foot six and almost thirty four.
Not looking herself, she remarked with a smile
as I stood back swallowing the pain,
my cardboard lungs gulped in lavender and coffee.
The kitchen, a hive of clinking tea cups
and hushed tones.
Borrowed barstools cluttered our hall,
made grown men seem ridiculous.
The smell of Febreze, quelled my squall, made me retch.
The interrupting Burco boiled water,
hissed its peak again and again.
The undertakers returned to reapply your make-up,
to conceal your green skin which appeared
succinctly as dusk fell.
Sandy lay beside you, coiled on the mat,
on loan from an aunt.
I kissed your forehead, the coldness startling,
wondered were you wearing socks..
Ensconced in frilly satin, sewn to the innards
of the fibrous box. The minutes closed in,
your lid waited, while we popped in a few little treats.
Two purple Quality Streets, and four
of your Artelac capsules.
Dad stretched for your harmonica, placed
it in beside you, with a third of his heart..
Out into sunshine and a silent crowd,
we each held a lock of that rainbow hair.
Waited for the hearse's slow humming,
as the dimmer switch of loss
turned the world down, for me, forever.