In The Grave
When you bury someone,
other things fall into the grave, too:
Tears, yes, as you might have guessed –
but also the twisted ends
of crumpled tissues, a mascara-heavy
lash, the thumbed-soft card
from the taxi driver who brought you
from station to cemetery. Also,
buried thoughts, slipped free like acorns
pinging on the lid of the varnished sky
your loved one will gaze upon forever.
Little thoughts you know you should not think:
like that you care that you don’t look good
in black, and how the eulogy you wrote
went over. Small resentments, petty
as the pebbles you will leave as calling cards
at the grave each time you visit.
You must know it’s true — the dead,
those unsound sleepers, turn like fitful
planets underground. Spin the soil,
littered with your careless grief,
as though spade by spade, for ages.
It happened the day I lost you.
My arm fell off.
Went the way you did.
First a little finger. Then another.
Didn't even notice when the wrist went.
Never missed the elbow.
By the time the bicep disappeared
Like butter on the stove
I didn't need it anymore.
When I dared think of it
(Phantom pain and all that)
It seemed so long ago. And
Anyway I could brush my teeth
Carry a plate of spaghetti
Turn down the bed
Just as well one-handed.
Until you came back.
And it didn't.