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Funeral Wake

Cousin Nora died on All Souls night.

They kept her wake in Siparia.

Tante Eva set trestles under the house.

We drank coffee and pale bush rum,

ate crackers and cheese

in the smoke of pitch lights.

The men played All Fours.

I remember the sound of cards on wood.

The women recalled the bite of cancer

and muttered a decade of the Rosary.

We tipped the first drink for the old ones

and watched the qua qua men,

beating the bongo rhythms for our dead.

Clouds ran across the moon,

leaving us in dark night.

Time to walk home.

The bamboo was pricked with candle flies.

Alcune’s yellow dog was howling.

Next day our hair still smelt of pitch oil.

Funeral Wake: Text
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