to lie down
in a riverbed
Don’t ask how I got mixed up with this androgynous fifty-something blonde. Maybe I had one too many, but when she proposes we break into the funeral parlor, it sounds like a swell idea. You know, she says, the women the mortician lays out are really dressed over the top. Just so happens, the madam of the local bordello kicked the bucket a day ago and I hear she’s donning baby doll garb and a floppy hat festooned with all kinds of fancy paraphernalia. This guy has a room filled with costumes and his passion is to go all out. He delights in dressing up stiffs, especially the ladies. He decked out his dead mother like she was going to a Mardi Gras parade.
I don’t remember exactly how we broke into the place, but suddenly I find myself standing next to my sidekick as she pulls boas and flowered hats from drawers — cocktail hats with exotic bird feathers, fascinators, those wide-brimmed numbers you see at horse races, bell hats, and cloches. She stuffs whatever she can find into an accordion case.
Like an epiphany, it occurs I might be breaking the law. If caught, I’d be considered an accomplice and there’d go my family’s good name. If this gal is after all this finery, why not just rob a costume shop? How I wish I could convince my good leg to step to the right and pull the other out of this crazy dream.
a black man
entwined in a sousaphone
practices a dirge