The Date



Years ago, my mother told me

if I wear makeup to bed

when death comes knocking,

I’ll be ready for the date.


I phone her. No answer.

Outside my window, the last

of yellow butter dahlia we planted

stand undimmed.


I drive to her house

against wind whirring its lament.

The grey of day rubs

pencil lead across the sky.


On the road, a window display

of stiff mannequins posing

through a bare canvas stare,

vacant-eyed, in little black dresses.


A sudden longing for café con leche

made with large dollops of milk and sugar,

her color, warm. My need right now.


Hands shaking, I open the door.

Silence smothers me.

I begin to bargain with the universe,

I can be a better daughter.


Her face is loose and make-up free,

unadorned, fixed in a final blank.

She was wrong. So wrong.

A fist catches in my throat.




Louisa Muniz is a freelance writer and a reading/writing tutor. She lives in Sayreville, NJ. She is a recent retired reading specialist and takes pride in having been a National Board Certified teacher who traveled to China to learn about their educational system. She has a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Kean University. Her work has been published in Rose Red Review and is forthcoming in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing. She is currently working on her first poetry chapbook.