The flesh gnaws at me
like an inverse conscience
its endless tiny teeth
sinking into soft orangey memory
the summer gone like an ex
Indian summer here
like an oh
uttered by a temptress
a temptress of fate, her index finger
and its vermillion nail
pressed to her pursed lips
just now, uttering a hush
warning naughty old me
to keep something
I can’t for-the-life-of-me remember
our little secret.
What was the mortician thinking?
Too lazy to hammer the final coffin-nail
that common sense bellowed
then begged weepily to have driven home
like an irrefutable truth.
And wouldn’t you know? The other nails
soon pry loose too, one by one,
as if of their own accord
and the wounded coffin lid fails to restrain
a familiar, pale paw caked with icy crud
from slithering out like a tendril,
feeling about to grasp the unsuspecting hand
of a hireling pallbearer
helping to bear the bier
to the supposed final resting place.
And how predictable! Pallbearers recoil
in horror at the clamminess of flailing palms
and at Maynard’s self-pitying sniveling,
dragged back to life by desire for touch.
Pallbearers flee ungently into that evil night.
For Justin Hakanson