El Día de los Muertos
Was Riley’s favorite holiday.
He loved smelling the sugar skulls,
didn’t mind that he couldn’t eat them.
My husband asks, Who wants a dead kid’s bike?,
then places Riley’s in the alley for someone to take.
Some believe the dead are insulted by sorrow.
My husband rummages through boxes in our garage
like we are having a fire sale.
He finds my dead father’s rare coins in a sock,
a card from my dead grandmother.
In Riley’s closet, I absorb the silent, airless church of his clothes,
and realize sugar skulls have space on the forehead for a name.
My husband runs outside to retrieve Riley’s bike.
Chanel Brenner is the author of Vanilla Milk: a memoir told in poems, (Silver Birch Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the 2016 Independent Book Awards and honorable mention in the 2014 Eric Hoffer awards. Her poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, Muzzle Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Spry Literary Journal, Barrow Street, Salamander, and others. Her poem, “July 28th, 2012” won first prize in The Write Place At the Write Time’s contest, judged by Ellen Bass. In 2014, she was nominated for a Best of the Net award and a Pushcart Prize.