In the afterlife

My father works
sixteen hour days
at the steel plant
then trudges back to his cloud
and sleeps
just as he did in this life
only now, he doesn’t
wake up in pain.

My mother baby-sits children
who never cry or fight.
In the evenings she plays Bingo
and often wins
but not every time
sometimes they must let
others win, so it’s fair.

And as for me --
I’m still the errand girl
carrying the angels’ white gowns
to the washer’s
buying polish for their wings
even at night they summon me
to serve at their parties and
pour out their drinks…

Someday, they say,

we’ll invite you.
But for now I just keep hoping -
I really don’t know where I am.
At times I think they’ve made a mistake
confused my papers
with some suicide’s.

Only once in a while
I might make a wrong turn
down some deserted back road
and reach a lake that shines like a drum.
The trees rustle their harps
and the locusts play their oboes;
the leaves begin humming
and the ground starts to sing
and until I find my way again
I am in paradise.

Jeannine M. Pitas is a writer and teacher from Buffalo, NY currently pursuing an M.A. in comparative literature at the University of Toronto. Her work has appeared in Ghoti, Flashquake, Wild Violet, and Wild Goose Poetry Review. Her translations of Uruguayan poet Marosa Di Giorgio's work have been published by Versal and Rhino.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761