A limousine ride—his former wives
and me: eighteen, daughter of the deceased.
Awkward among women
who talked with gestures,
rigid postures, eyes dimmed
then lit like rabbit holes
covered and uncovered.
I did not yet grasp
the irony of this firetrap:
his harem assembled.
If only he could see them now,
would he laugh?
His first wife’s specter simpered
from the coats. First love, last love,
her Cimmerian boast. Beside her,
my mother tucked a wayward strand
as the day’s weight canted her lipsticked grin.
Wife Three also tested a smile,
while glad-handing the others.
Her ankh shimmered, like my mother’s
key when I was four
that had suddenly failed to open
our front door. Had this woman
pulled aside a curtain that day
to peek from my own childhood house
at my stranded mother and me, locked out?
A freckled arm stretched to pet
my shoulder; this was The Fourth,
regarding me from a screen of shades,
Xanax, Jim Beam. She sputtered
platitudes but all I heard was her drunk
drone from late night calls
to my Garfield shaped phone, as I
wondered why she slipped on her words.
Next to her sat my father’s final paramour,
gawking at her gabardine sleeve like perhaps
she could glean an escape hatch.
She had been dating Dad, half-interested,
when he unexpectedly ceased to exist.
His parting gift: a fancy limo trip
to Fred Hunter’s with the rest of us.