Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Body Bags

Morgue man, cadaverous tooth, smile unhinged
at the cocoon before you. Inside that silk robe

lies a body unpleasant to look upon, but your job
is to ferry all corpses from womb to grave.

Do not speak of the soul. Our spirits
preserve our flesh and good humor, but fail

at keeping us alive. In 1842, a shipwrecked privateer
and her crew survived on barrels of rum

for as long as it took them to die. O Cloud of Flies,
O Deathwatch Beetle, you are the man every man

wants to be, birthing citizens of the final world.
What remains tells a story, but that story is an end.

Sad-mouthed man, the born butterfly ruins the body
of the dead caterpillar. What a loss. Hurt heart,

properly preserved, our skins will last forever.  

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