All relatives gathered in the small village church near the lake, acting like pro-

fessional mourners, silicon teardrops
glued to their eyelids, glued to their cheekbones,
in front of their feet
a puddle of glue.

The cicadas in the pines were silent that Mediterranean July
morning, when the well-fed priest shuffled through
the Templon sweating, mumbling
into a chipped microphone, com-

forting the living, patting the faithful,
chewing some prayers, wine belly rumbling,
offertory box,
free candy for all. Before

the service, my aunt pushed everyone aside
to snatch a front row seat, dragging a slimy trail
of lamentations, as her mother-in-law,
my grandmother, was lying there, her left breast

missing, first tribute to cancer.
Guts still dissolving, cotton-stuffed nostrils,
sexton with a stick
pulling mud off his shoe.

And then, they all shifted their eyes at once outside
the window, squinted towards the lake where
its glittering water started rippling and Jesus
crawled out looking like a shipwreck, all

soaked through and goose-bumped, panting
while limping away to somewhere.
Aunt kept lamenting,
eyes swung back—
who stole from the box?

No one said a word.
The priest munched altar bread,
and the bugs, silent,
jumped off the trees.