chapel tag

We practiced living while they lay dead.
Us, with the noise of life rising in our throats
playing tag in the funeral home chapel.
Twelve rows of chairs and a center aisle

where we would run feral past carnation wreaths, past the piano
upsetting the solemn air as we escaped
the windowless room, vast, carpeted, plain

to find refuge in the garage
our fingers sliding idly over the hearse’s interior wheels.
We tucked our small frames under the cloth, black as Iowa dirt,
that hung beneath the caskets in the show room.

We ran circles around death witnessing the dead but not the dying
our playground

Once a child, once a baby, once a woman, simple in dress,
in a homemade pine casket that made us cry Dracula.
Us, with the noise of life rising in our throats
but glancing at the body as we sprinted to base hollering
Not it

IMG_0712copy-2 (1)Nina Lohman Cilek lives in Iowa City, Iowa with her husband and two children. She holds a masters degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine, Ink and Letters, and The Other Journal. She celebrates well, takes a decent picture, and has been known to both foster and encourage wild ideas.