When I Buried My Son I Became Someone Else

by Alexis Rhone Fancher

When I buried my son             I became someone else
the motherhood part            written out of my script;

I should have felt lighter.
                       An alternate narrative ran alongside
                       the dead kid one where he wasn’t dead.
It remains the preferable scenario.

I buried my son and now I don’t
know who walks on eggshells          the living or the dead, and sometimes I think
                       the dead one is me, especially when I look

in the mirror.                 I am coming to terms with mortality: mine/his.
                       I’ve dumbed down my dreams.

If you look hard enough,           you’ll see the skewed trajectory, the off-track,
the fizzle. You’ll live             the devastation, sip the dregs.

When my mother died,           I wore a lavender dress to her funeral.

I stuffed it into the back of my closet     where it lived for thirty years. When I found it
                       again, the dress still fit.

But I wouldn’t be caught dead in it.

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 3