November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Jessica Dubey


The River Ganges

When the shock of his death began to peel away
and we stopped leaning on walls to steady ourselves
the family told me to throw out the mattress.
Death is a stain you can’t wash off
it’s best to send it away before it latches onto you.
In my eyes it was a perfectly good mattress.
So it stayed.
The family lit candles and said let them burn to light the way.
I couldn’t sleep.
The roar of the flickering flame consumed me two floors up.
So I blew it out.
When the urn arrived filled with bits and pieces
there were no pictures of him.
So we propped up his driver’s license and
wrapped everything in a yard of gauzy red fabric.
That was our shrine
in the room where the walls smelled of loose tobacco
and Tiger Balm.
Each day on the way to the laundry
I’d find the lamp on in his room.
It’s the kind that turns on with the slightest
brush of a hand.
It was a comfort to know he was still there.
Then the day came for his trip to the Ganges
and the room stood dark.
I did everything wrong and still he left.

Jessica Dubey lives with her family in the Southern Tier of New York, where she writes and studies poetry. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and has written freelance for marketing and healthcare.