The wedding party waited to enter the reception hall. We would be named and called in by the DJ, with no imagination, as sister of the bride, brother of the groom, best man, maid of honor, and each couple would have to dance out of a door and into a room full of guests and flanked by windows that overlooked the gloom of a Kentucky winter, branches long and arched in their bareness, greyish grasses crunched by the cold, and still thin clouds without threat of rain. In that moment, I held onto Kali’s hand, my new sister according to the Hindu ceremony, her breathing abrupt and raspy, unable to speak except through her own invented sign language, a consequence of downs, which her sisters understood and insisted was joy. The error of my nostalgia now that she’s gone is that I’ve never known such happiness, a woman-girl waiting to dance, who would never marry, would die a virgin like the nuns who taught me algebra and curiosity, who saw my brother and his wife as new parents to her drowsy breathlessness.
Richard Boada is author of three poetry collections: We Find Each Other in the Darkness (Texas Review Press 2020), The Error of Nostalgia (Texas Review Press 2013), and Archipelago Sinking (Finishing Line Press 2011). He has been a finalist for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Book Prize and is a recipient of a Mississippi Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship. His poems appear in the Southern Poetry Anthology, Urban Voices: 51 Poets / 51 Poems, Crab Orchard Review, and North American Review among others. He teaches for the West Virginia Wesleyan College Low Residency MFA Program and Lane College.