Plan for a device of words

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You might be the most
exquisite corpse, not a poem
but a body weighed down

by unsaid words.
I passed my hand
along your jaw—skin cold

as I always heard
it would be. Once,
you let me shave your cheek

with a straight-blade, carefully
in short persistent strokes.
We were both afraid—

a fear that made us
tender too—the blood
gone from your face

by now. There’s a diener
who bathes the dead,
prepares them for a widow’s

touch, an embalmer
who shaves the stubble
where skin has shrunk back

to the skull.
I only want this poem
to do one (very) simple thing:

to keep a piece of you
from fading.

Plan for a device of words by Erika Luckert

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Photo used under CC.

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About Author

Erika Luckert is a writer from Edmonton, Canada. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, and was a nominee for the Canadian National Magazine Award in Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Room Magazine, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, CALYX, Entropy, Measure, and others. She lives in New York City, where she teaches creative and critical writing. www.erikaluckert.com

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