A few months after assembling a collage of 64
years that danced the joys of her life on powerpoint,
he got in the car with her family,
just like at past Christmases, christenings,
and funerals – but the beat was
different. He sat alone in the backseat.
The saguaro cactus waved goodbye as the
desert tumbled towards Vegas,
and A Wedding Chapel, where Elvis
led his new niece down the aisle.
After, he sat in the casino bar drinking whisky
like iced tea, numb to the air conditioning.
There were no windows, just perpetual night and the
slot machines shouted behind him in prickly discords.
The cigarette smoke hanging on his shoulders
brought back thirty-year-old cravings whilst he
brooded on the memories of his marriage.
Hers was the only way of life he knew.
When the whisky slipped him off the
bar stool and his sister-in-law raised him to his feet,
he thought he saw his wife there and wept.