A Different Sort of Mourning


A Different Sort of Mourning




Ivory Butler








“A Different Sort of Mourning”

This morning, my mother told me
She gave all our Thin Mints away
To the staff at my aunt Loretta’s retirement home.

I thought of how I fought
To get us all Thin Mints
When Girl Scouts weren’t doing sales.
How I wanted to give 2 boxes to Auntie and 1 to my boyfriend,
1 for my family and 1 for me.

I thought of my aunt’s retirement home.
The empty parking lots and the closed off patio
We used to sip milkshakes with her at.
The 24/7 nurse’s office and the cooks and custodians and activities coordinators.
The bubbly receptionist, Keisha, who wore purple lipstick and complimented my dog

Whenever we brought her to visit Auntie.
The residents would all gather round in their walkers, petting her head and rubbing her belly.
The visitor’s parlors with their cushioned chairs and carpeted floors and oak tables
Now vacant. Because none of the residents
Are allowed to leave their rooms.

My aunt must be in her room,
Seated in the old green Japanese chair
A former resident’s daughter gave her when she passed,
Sitting by the television, blaring the Hallmark channel on full volume,
Without being able to see anything on it.
Her bed clean of any traces of dog fur,
Because my dog hasn’t been allowed in for several weeks
And can’t jump on it and wake her up like she used to.

I said to my mother, “I can always order more.”


A Different Sort of Mourning.docx


Ivory Butler, “A Different Sort of Mourning,” Documenting the Student Experience of COVID-19 at Sarah Lawrence College, accessed January 19, 2022, https://slccovid.omeka.net/items/show/49.

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