Victorian Funeral Notice (Glass Coffin)

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Poetry

Even though it’s a time of danger maybe we are about to be free. ~ Gloria Steinem

And now I see her in a box,
the girl I was back then.

I stand beside the glass cocoon
where the body’s stretched out

inside, run my hands along
its cold crystal ceiling. Auroras

in the mind light up, color bleeds
across this sky’s membered flesh.

There is no lid or seam to pry
my fingers through. The corpse

won’t be tampered with. What’s
done is, and where do you go

from here? Glance back. Snap
a pic like any good museum rat,

note the still life made
of her features, the constellating

gaze of dead lips and eyes. You’ve
dressed her in her best baptismal

whites, wads of lilies, pink-pearled
ribbons orbit her,

a horseshoe yoke
the winning beast and rider wear.

Birthed blooms circle her skull,
the gaping sex of them

sewn to a crown embalmed
in time. Signaling the end

of a very long race, years
of struggle and what you

fought for erased. At what
you thought was the finish line.

"Victorian Funeral Notice (Glass Coffin)" a poem by Michelle Bitting

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Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie SchoonerNarrativeRiver Styx, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Linebreak, diode, Rattle, Anti—the L.A. Weekly and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and as the Weekly Featured Poet on Verse Daily. In 2007, Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. Her book Notes to the Beloved, won the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Award and will be published in 2012. Recently, Michelle won the Beyond Baroque Foundation Award. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison, and is proud to be an active California Poet in the Schools. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon. Visit her at