Marilee Pritchard


Two a.m. splicing through a reel of dreams,
my phone demanding answers
when I had only questions.
I heard my sister screaming—something
about the police, a gun going off
Is he dead?

Suburban pilgrims journey to Chicago.
Pale fishes paddle down a sea of café-au-lait,
the husbandless mother weeping,
attending 3 squabbling children.
The dead boy supine in satin
packed into a last year’s graduation suit.
From our clumsy mouths, nervous chatter slipped
fracturing the solemnity of stunned funeral guests.
The odor of gardenias, dying to give
off their sweetness, permeated the air.

Down mean streets, through a gangway
of city barrio, cars processed
while car-less riders cramped
four-abreast in a pipe-smoking cab.
Nude bottomed trees, stripped to
their knees mooned a junkyard mosaic
as yesterday’s wash limboed in the wind.

At the cemetery we slipped his body
into a baby’s breath of snow
as an old woman belted out
a torch song of curses.
Your mother wept and proclaimed
“It was the will of God.”
Gunning the motors of our cars
we traveled back in time
as the world’s sputtered and turned
balling on its axis
anxious to call in the day
not able to stop,
not wanting to hurt too much.


Marilee Pritchard is a retired RN who lives in the Chicago suburbs and likes to cook, play the piano, and
create poetry that tells a story, uses accessible language, and employs beautiful imagery. She is a
member of the Second Saturday Poets in Palatine, IL. Recent and forthcoming publications include:
Paterson Literary Review, After Hours, Passager, and Naugatuck River Review.