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