Almost Animal

 

I heard they no longer sew eyelids of the dead shut.

When I pressed my palm to his wrapped chest
it was an abbreviation for marriage.

And as I left the morgue that day,
I emptied the room—I carried him on my back
and over my shoulders. I carried him
across my forehead and between my shins.

At home, I molded a ball and cannon.
This was my way of waging war on suicide.
I didn’t eat, and I slept only some of the nights.

Do you think I chipped away at the day
the same way I did the night?

There was nothing left for me to look at
so I closed my own eyes.
I wore sunglasses and a light jacket.
I wore them until I met my future husband.

Until then, I busied myself counting the lacerations
on my dead husband’s neck and wrists.
I am good with numbers.

I didn’t spend all this time counting
just to get so far in front of him.
But the hours I waited for him
layered like moths around a weak light.
I wanted to burn the holding room and sell its ashes.

After the dried blood was wiped from his face,
his jaw was set with a piece of string.
They tried to leave a natural appearance.

His throat was a village; my palm an iron of matrimony.
I wanted to smooth his clothes; I wanted to clean his hair.
I should have been the one to prepare his body.

It would have been easier that way.
But it didn’t matter,
he was going right into the fire.