Tastes the same as  oatmeal,

     a thin ration before internment


or anticipatory grief

    resting on a daughter’s tongue.

An oxymoron, a quilt

    made of onionskins: What quickens


the pulse, a slow reckoning

    or surprise? Out in the waiting room,


a woman hears from the on-call

    that her husband went painlessly


in his sleep, heart attack

    at forty. His autopsy relays


a tumor, snaking inoperable,

    the length of his spine. The body stays


nights for its last cell to cease. Do we

    feel the final burn of cremation


or the flowers’ weight upon our backs?

    Is the body the soul’s first dream?







Photo by Paul