SHE ORCHESTRATES HER WAKE
photo by Barbara Michelman
She Orchestrates Her Wake
Hold it on a Thursday when the truck
with my favorite tacos de barbacoa parks
in the Target parking lot down the street.
Get plenty of tacos and be ready to run back
for more. You cannot prepare for the quantity
we need. The truck changes every Thursday
but the tacos are the same. Bring enough
containers for each of the salsas. Include
my special container for the hottest salsa.
It’s in the cupboard, mixed up with the others
but don’t worry, it stands out. Bring your own
plastic bags for carrying the tacos. Make sure
everyone tries at least one taco with one drop
of the hottest salsa. That will give us something
to laugh about later in the night. Make sangria
and plan to drink a lot. Pick whichever recipe
people like. Get supplies for several batches
of my margaritas. Follow my recipe to the letter.
Don’t rely on a paper copy of the recipe. Find
the one I laminated. It will help, after a few batches,
to have a copy that can get wet. Invite everyone
I know. Make a list. Make sure everyone on the list
gets a chance to add to it. Yes, I know,
it will be a long list. Be sure to invite the old lady
next door, who sits on her stoop most afternoons,
watching the neighborhood boys. She will not attend.
Instead, she will probably call the cops to complain
about the noise. Something else to laugh about
before sunrise. Don’t invite the boys. Don’t forget
to add me to the list. Receiving the invitation
in the mail will help me remember to show up.
Make sure no one arrives before sundown.
Sunsets remind me of the time that rattlesnake
bit my dog, remind me of this nest of snakes
untwining in me. I believe, if everyone gathers
in the twilight, all the snakes will coil up again
in a firm ball, replacing my breast. Help me
put on my green dress that hugged my hips,
that used to make the men at the taco truck
say, “Damn!” when they knew I could hear them.
Make sure I have my silver hoop earrings.
Make sure my scalp shines. Let me wear
the oversized sunglasses I wore when they
were still in style, when I still thought looking
at the sunset could be beautiful so long
as I took precautions. Tell me, again and again,
I am beautiful long after dark.
Matt Daly’s poetry has been published various journals including The Cortland Review, Pilgrimage, Sixfold, Clerestory, and Split Rock Review. He was the recipient of the 2015 Neltje Blanchan Award for writing inspired by the natural world. In 2013, he received a creative writing fellowship in poetry from the Wyoming Arts Council. Matt is a resident faculty member at the 2016 Jackson Hole Writers Conference.