An Easy Death


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

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About Author

Andrea England is a poet, a mother, a teacher, and a lover of Michigan winters. Her poems have appeared most recently in RHINO, Harpur Palate, and Passages North, and her first book has been a finalist for the Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry, The Kore Press Open Submission Period, and Four Way Books Levis Prize. She lives in Kalamazoo MI, where she just completed her PhD in Poetry, with her family (including two dogs and three chickens).


  1. Krista Katrovas on

    This is an amazingly heart-piercing and soothing poem. I love Andrea’s attention to detail, to the depth of the sentiments. This poem makes me want to call all my loved ones and send blessings, while there is still ample time to send love, light, peace to all those I cherish! Great poem!

  2. “Anticipatory grief.” Yes, exactly. But also ‘participatory.’ England’s poems often ask of us a level of participation found only in our very best lyric-narratives. A lovely poem here. Honest and piercingly beautiful. Amen.

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