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The Whole Story

Veneta Masson

After she died
there was talk of war
the stock market crashed
the cat didn’t eat for three days
her youngest came home from school in tears
her husband grew a beard.

I do not lie when I tell you these things
nor do I tell the whole story.

I do not say that her funeral day dawned bright
and unrepentant

or that all the sunflowers in the city
were gathered at her wake.

I do not mention the ruffled bride
also in white, waiting discreetly outside
the door of the chapel.

I do not tell how, at the gravesite
smiling children blew
soap bubbles over her casket

and how they were not buried with her
but were borne up and away,
carried gently on a light wind.

About the author:

Veneta Masson is a nurse and poet living in Washington, DC.

About the poem:

“I’m looking at an early draft of this poem, before it had a title. This is my story, I scribbled, and I will decide what truth to tell/what truth to hide. Isn’t it just so? Ask any of us who were at the funeral and we’ll tell you the whole story. Each story will be true, but each truth will be different.”

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro