Last Rites by Meggie Royer

My mother on a train filled with bodies. My mother
sitting between all her previous lovers,
dress uncurling like cinnamon peel from a spool.
My mother as goddess among men.
One with cigarette still lit, ash blooming
across the sunken bowl of his left cheek.
My mother has mascara for this.
Afternoon sky swimming past the windows,
its bloodlines, its cirrus clouds.
The driver announces the station.
Like paper dolls, she pulls them in a thread
from the seats and down the aisle,
heads bobbing as abacus.
To their ends they arrive—
their burials in pools, backyards,
their ashes in our sink.

Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.

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