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Janice Gould: Five Poems

Cante jondo Wind taps the window at night, whistles through cracks and keyholes, summoning.  Along the snowy ridge she moans a black siguiriya. I work as darkness encloses my house, sleep dreamlessly in the afternoon. When I awaken, burning and hungry, I listen for wind.  She’ll come scratching holes in sandy soil, kicking up gravel, sobbing and singing, the train of her dark skirt swaggering magnificently. First Death Mom sent us in, whispering in a fierce voice that we should not be afraid, for Mama Bea had “always loved us.” True, the old woman looked like she was sleeping, lying silently in the bronze casket her lawyer had paid for. At first, neither Joyce nor I wanted to look. We hung back. It was odd enough being in the mortuary—a place called “The Little Chapel of the Flowers”—in a building with a mock thatch roof that looked as if it belonged in Old England. It was evening, after dinner. The casket was on a stand of some sort; red velvet curtains hung behind it, like …