KENTUCKY SENIOR POET LAUREATE
Christine Strevinsky

ONE TRUE MOURNER

The black umbrellas were clustered
like mushroom caps
around the muddy hole; the figures
under them properly clad
in dark suits and somber dresses.
White hankies fluttered from pale fingers.

One umbrella, in pale lilac
dotted with yellow ducks
stood apart from the rest.
Huddled under it was
a Dolly Parton wig, six-inch
stilettos and a sequined frock.

How dare he hovered like a cloud
above the black mushroom caps.
Someone gasped; someone else
muttered dire words.
The ducky umbrella advanced;
the black ones parted
like the sea before Moses.

A lace-gloved hand dropped
a single red rose into the earth’s maw.
Red-rimmed eyes scanned the aghast group;
the lilac umbrella spun.
The one real mourner walked away.

Christine Strevinsky, 78, of Shepherdsville, is a retired assistant English professor who was born in Poland and did not speak English until she was age 18. She entered college as a freshman at age 45, prior to which she was a sausage stuffer, welder, punch press operator, waitress, solderer and wirerer. She raised three children, and wound up teaching English to the native-born. Her sun sign is Capricorn.