Renee Emerson


In the funeral home parlor, you are cold
and doll-like; I am afraid to look
under your clothes.

A smocked pink dress with pearls
sewn in intervals, like drawn-on tears.
A dress from a friend with good taste.

Familiar, a grandmother’s sitting room—
Teddy bears stare stiffly, rocking chair
poised in the corner. Your father next to me,
my prom date at the worst dance ever.
At your grave, a little mud scattered
on your name. I wanted to smear it over,
cross you off this list.



Renee Emerson is a homeschooling mom of seven, and the author of Church Ladies (forthcoming from Fernwood Press, 2022), Threshing Floor (Jacar Press, 2016), and Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014). Her poetry has been published in Cumberland River Review, Windhover, and Poetry South. She adjunct teaches online for Indiana Wesleyan University, and blogs about poetry, grief, and motherhood at www.reneeemerson.com.