Afterlife


In bed, you explain the parameters of love, or lack thereof

And then you kill me with your body and I am dead.

For a long time no one notices—I have always run cold

and own lots of sweaters.  I bathe in civet, in cinnamon

like the poem says, to mask the scent of your own ill-doing.

You are charmed by this.  We watch a lot of zombie movies.

I make you sandwiches, chill your glass with my hands.


Later, while you sleep, I explore the joys of being bloodless:

Rest a stethoscope against my breast to hear the un-beating,

Press my lips against a glass to see the non-fog,

Give comfort to the elderly, the terminally ill, the clairvoyant.

I let them know that death is not the problem, not the shadow

that has been following them.  That, I explain, is something

they must deal with some other way.  Don't blame Death, I tell them.

It's the media, it's all this warming.  I hold up my hands, I smile—

I sing that Frank Sinatra song that everyone knows,

Something about a city, a shuffle-ball-change, who cares.


In bed, every night, you tell me I am doing So Much Good, that I

am finally contributing something Real.  That I am building

a bridge to the Other Side.  You are proud of me, your small dead girlfriend,

and then you put your hands on me.  I want to tell you


I have seen the Other Side and it's not bridges

that we need there, but nets—great wide nets to catch all

the bullshit that we carry with us, that we sail in on, that someone

places inside of us when they kill us with their kindness,

and their lack of love thereafter.

Copyright © 1999-2017 Juked