The 2River View 17.3 (Spring 2013)

K. R. Barger


After you died
I always thought I could
take the black and white
party dress hanging in the closet
out to the field
when I needed good things to grow—
the good times it had seen
would stand there
like a scarecrow warning off
the birds bringing the worms,
the bad unsettling thoughts
to feed this daughter's sorrow.
By the end you were as bony
as the shoulder shaped wire,
hanging that favorite dress;
it was shiny black with white lace
edging across your cleavage
as you danced with Daddy—
Showing off the dress.
The bottom would spin out
like a twirl of dark universe,
that would eventually collide
with all you loved breaking
down the days, dinners, dancing
leaving you so very widowed
and ready to go, that the cancer
in your middle became a vortex
and like a star you, your life
the lives of your daughters,
your house and home,
all you had, died out—
So right now as I drive by
I drive by all those days
that actually did not matter.
The house is now and will always
stand in the distance.
The field in front of it is empty
except for birds rising up
little worms of memory—
dancing your life, the closet, hats
and gloves, baby teeth and love letters,
above the black dress with the breathy edges
he liked so much—its twirling now gone— 
I still see it hang there like a suicidal wish.

K.R. Barger was born and raised in rural Virginia. She currently resides in Boston. contact