Tag Archives: death

Everything again

What if memory’s just the dead, flourishing differently from how they flourished alive? — Carl Phillips, Stop Shaking Twenty-five years later, calm as compline, hushed as heavy snow, wired to a dozen impassive monitors, she left. Or rather, what remained, the mortal wound inflicted long ago: the loss, the betrayal, the accident that changed everything. […]


I mistook your light for substance, though you burned out long ago, the celestial aspects of your small body subsumed by the dark gravity of one larger, and me forgetting how a dead star may nonetheless shine from an irretrievable past, a glory of extinction no astronomer could ignore, yet the core collapsing and collapsing […]


Pray; tell: What do you keep out? And what, in?


I saw you there the night before, a leggy black pearl against the glossy white tub, and made a note: Spider. Remove before showering. And the next morning remembered too late, and bore your sodden body to the sunny deck rail where I had meant to leave you, alive. And lay you there gently, lifted […]

Ghost pains

I. After I died, of course, form didn’t matter. Relief of a kind I could not articulate (lacking a mouth). I had been poured into genes; the body’s kismet commenced. I was not glorious; nor was I inadequate. My limbs worked. I had a heart, mysterious; a brain that could not understand it. I did […]


  I dream they rise — the cowboys and soldiers, the housewives and teachers, the laborers — at some unknowable hour of secret, liminal nights, their coffins too small to contain their longing.  Were  they lost all their lives?  Did they long to be visible, to be found, and are they, now, beyond the blind […]


  Disaster Number 4498 requires a death certificate, cause clearly stated; an invoice, itemized, the date of our disaster — your demise — the cost of which can be deftly monetized in America, where any harm may be codified, indemnified in that coarse ledger, as if we should be, could be, compensated, reparated; our fragments […]

This urn; these ashes

Your ashes near, I drive you home, headlights on; a funeral procession of one. I imagine everyone pulls over, heads bowed, hands over hearts for you, a good man. I am too somber. The time of disease, of dementia, is over. Now, I can remember how you made us laugh. Now — in a form […]

The young farmer’s widow considers the harvest

You say nothing and what could you, what words can tongue the abruptly absent body? You will long for shock once it dissipates, but now this fearful frenzy, all that must be done when nothing can be done: the obit, the funeral, receiving the food, the cards. Helplessness weights the air like humidity in storm-bruised […]

End zone

Slumped and somnolent, my father smells of urine and stasis, his eyes half-lidded, his shirt half-buttoned, his catheter — part of him now, no less than the wheelchair– leaking from his belly like a poorly kept secret. I dream his body a piñata at a party no one believes, an imitation life waiting to break […]