9 (seventy)

Seventy-seven ladies of sorrow,

dear hearts, cruel hearts, broken hearts and true hearts,

none of us saints, all of us hallowed,

for all that we teased, and picked life apart,

for all of our dreams, like flashes of dark,

for all of our heaving, gone with a puff,

for lipstick-rimmed crystal, greasy and stark,

for ashtrays of filtered cigarettes, snuffed,

for the little we took for far too much,

we shall be inurned in chambers of want.

For the youth we lost: be mingled in dust.

Be one dying breath in a shell of conch.

Seventy-seven, ladies of sorrow,

farewell my loves, and wake me tomorrow. 

originaally published in How Journal

anthologized in Devouring the Green (Jaded Ibis, 2015)