First to arrive, last to leave

She waited for her Christmas eve ride at the
garage door window, took a last look at her
white face and the curl of her black hair in a small
round compact, then put on her felt beret,
closed her eyes,
and said a prayer to her late husband.

“I’m leaving at eight,” she whispered at seven-o’clock
to her driver, who had watched over her
widowhood as best as he could. She remembered
attending his wedding in her middle age, in his youth,
saying in the bathroom mirror
a wedding reception prayer to her empty womb,

“I’m not leaving yet, I’m not drunk enough.” Now at
the driver’s Christmas party, she sat on the couch
for an eternity, her old urchin smile on the edge
of the cushion in the corner of the couch and,
wishing to scream, waiting at last to leave,
said a rescue prayer to her driver.