a dead thing


NOTE: It’s been a good, long while since I’ve felt a poem screeching to be born. This one wanted out.

Photo credit to my friend Bobbi Wilkins in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

• • •

I’ve been nursing

a dead thing, holding

it against my breast, begging

it to eat something, take

something if not milk, maybe

the cake I just baked

or some bread

or soup.


I’ve been soaking in a brine

with a dead thing, such unliving

is contagious and

it has left me pickling

in my own juices.


The dead cannot fix things

or change, and corpses are always unaware

of their stuckedness. This one liked to preserve things

especially the narrative about his innocence,

how someone else had killed him

many years ago.


But maybe she was over it,

done sleeping in a bed with a

dead thing, opting

instead, out of the solution —

sour smile behind glass

lye in the water

and on his tongue —

before she soaked up too much salt.


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