Monarch in the Urn

Tadpoles bellied-up as she drifted downstream,
a fragment catching on some wayward twigs.

My sister, still a child beneath the gray,
handed out clumsily crayoned Easter cards
to the few attendees—

all of us planted like vertical fossils
in the red Utah sand, ear pairs attentive

to a friend’s slender-without-being-vacuous eulogy
which deserved a solid B, B+ maybe, considering

the inevitable paranoias which remained
obedient spaniels at our feet. Everyone spoke.

Someone from the half who loved Jesus
offered a prayer—

Heavenly Father something or other
No one brought food.

Marilee Richards is the 2016 winner of the Asheville Poetry Review William Matthews Poetry Prize.