Document the Decline

If they bend your knees just right,
with one leg beneath the other,
you will fit,
although the plot is short and shallow.

Pothunters will wonder why
you are buried under the Russian olive
and not on the hill, in the old mausoleum,
and why the sudden stopping,
the decline, the fall,
the years of neglect —
the center of commerce shifted perhaps:
a terrible epidemic,
a brutal war.

They have sunk all the ships already
and the oil has slipped away.
The bread and the books are spoiled,
the enormous library burned in the night —
not by armies — by the old postman.

You watched it light
that cheerless June, when the evenings
smelled like sage and sherry.
But there are no more good men to poison,
no more pamphlets,
just circus posters on shop shutters.
Even the topsoil doesn’t hold.

Some helpful soul
will have broken your arm to save space,
placed your viscera in a jar
painted with bluebells,
lovingly wrapped.
They will wonder why the stalks of lavender
and the hawthorn berries spilling from your right hand,
a pen with a metal nib,
and who lent the fateful blow,
the one that counted.

They will wonder why you didn’t fight.

A grad student, a coed,
will love your expressionless bones,
fill them with meaning,
construct a digital face and make its lips move.

She will imagine you
like a paper wasp
who came back to the nest
to find it gone — just a ring
like plaster on the wood,
the queen gone too, a few bodies,
and you later on the sill,
slowly, slowly,
slow with cold, in circles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s