Nancy Wheaton, “Black Veil”

orange line

Black Veil

Saturday afternoon, raw. Dripping clouds,
exuding a vaporous lingering drizzle,
matching her mood. Tears, her voice
an octave lower than usual. An eerie stillness.

We waited. Maybe this will be a lesson
for us all. The party days are over.
Heroin kills. There is no recreational,
just having fun use. She insists on the black veil.

He loved expressing the moment. Rummaging
through a chest once, he found a cravat.
High, he started on Duolingo, blazing
through five lessons. Shot up. Said je vous aime.

Sitting on the front porch, watching
each other, we wished we had matching veils.
Just admit it, I offer: his death, the gargantuan end,
is our catalyst for survival, for change.

Still, as the birds in the weeping rain chirp, the urge
to shoot up persuading, sweat beading up,
thoughts of just this one last time
loom as the edge of the full moon appears.


Nancy Wheaton is a teacher on the New England seacoast. She writes poetry, reads widely, and enjoys the natural world.



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