BY MATTHEW A. HAMILTON
When they opened the casket, I saw mama’s glued lips and rosy cheeks. Her Spanish moss hair lay still on the pillow, helpless without the live oak and southern winds. She smelled like oatmeal. I said she was alive. Dad said she was dead. I touched her chest to make sure. Everyone watched me. I was only five and didn’t understand death. I didn’t understand where mama went. The old gossipy ladies from the ice-cream social church committee smiled at me. Sad smiles. I slipped my hand into my pants pocket and hid the secrets of mama’s soul, then returned to my seat. I sat there quietly and anticipated the crowd storming into my house and bayoneting the roast, smothering the mashed potatoes in blood-colored gravy.
Matthew A. Hamilton is a US Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Philippines. His most recent publications can be found at Four and Twenty and Ramshackle Review. He has forthcoming work in LitSnack and The Final Draft. He will begin an MFA in creative writing in December at Fairfield University.