to dwell on the dead

does not always mean a descent

into darkness. it is sometimes a feast.

sleeper sharks spend months taking

their fill of a whale’s corpse.


you can call them scavengers,

but scavenge is an ugly synonym

for re-purpose, for nourish, for take

me into your mouth, if it means i will stay

here a while longer.


hunger is how we remember

what is gone.




no one knows what to call

whale bones after dark

except ravaged & exposed & empty.

except a more dead creature.


sometimes i am all four,

desperate for a new pulse

but won’t you call me home,

if only for a moment, won’t you live

in the ivory city of me?


won’t you walk the downtown

of my sternum, each rib: a skyscraper

marquee’d with the names

of those i love, a colony of light


like the fish that settle inside

a whale after its meat is picked.




i don’t believe in immortality

but i know how to live forever.

when i am gone, take my arms


to your mouth. may you taste

the lovers i have held.


take my legs & feet. may you taste

the roads i have walked.
take my heart: this mess

of muscle, engine of joy


& shame. i hope it is not too tough

on your teeth, that your jaw never aches

that you always wish for more.


& when you are done,

i hope you can say

now that was a feast, a meal

worth going to the bottom

of the ocean.


Photo by Dean Pasch