at my kitchen sink, the bathroom upstairs
clogged with family from out of town
spending the night after the wake
and the after-wake—cold beverages
have been consumed and comfort food,
leftovers bulging both the fridge
and the minifridge. In our fifties, both
half-asleep half-awake, we face each
other. My sister’s smile foams white
down her chin at the end of a day
on which no one has smiled. We laugh.
We may never brush our teeth together again.
No mirror down here to see our haggard faces.
We rinse, we spit. As we were taught.
“Brushing Teeth with My Sister after the Wake” by Jim Daniels from The Middle Ages. © Red Mountain Press, 2018.
From the Writer’s Almanac