Gabrielle Aboki Tallahassee (Zuleyha Lasky)
Mario’s Last Dance
The doors of the church swung open,
and sunlight kissed our skin, welcomed us
to the realities of the new world
no more smile in my uncle’s eyes.
That unholy morning, my aunt called
to tell my grandmother she had lost
her son on her birthday, Bible slipped
from her fingers as she cursed into the open air.
My uncle, who surprised me with bright
pink rolls of Bubble Tape gum and UNO,
who was the first to jump on the dance floor
at a wedding reception, a crowd always watching,
not unlike that night outside of The Gambler.
The gunshots pierced the air, shattering
through bone, his skull—a wine glass
falling from careless hands.
How cold his body must have felt
when the crowd scattered and left him
alone on the 3 a.m. concrete to die
in darkness, barely making it to Sunday.