Friday, September 15, 2006

Poem: extreme unction

This is an old poem that has been on my mind lately. I thought I'd post it here since I haven't posted any of my own poetry in a while. This is from many years back.

extreme unction

she places the plum,
not yet ripe,
in a small music box
made of oak,
the box scented with a darkness
where meadowlarks come
to sing away death

she closes the lid
and seals herself
into a pact with loss

but the birds do not come, no rain,
no gentle fingers
wipe away the tears

she places the music box
in a drawer
beneath loose photos
of her lover
whose body came undone


three days pass,
a fist-size hole in her belly
whistles when the wind blows

her friends ignore the haunting
sounds, offer glasses of wine,
some bread, a hug,
but never say the words

today it rains,
a meadowlark returns
and she retrieves the box,
sits with it
in front of her on the floor,
powders incense from the sticks
and sprinkles a circle
of black dust
around herself,
opens the lid


darkness sings when she
bites into flesh-colored
meat of the plum, juice
sticky on her lips,
savoring the body
and blood

teeth and tongue clean
the pit of its flesh
and she places the stone
inside the box,
aware only of the brief rustle
of a dress dropped to the floor
long ago, and a fullness
missing these last days

~ This poem appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig, No. 11, 1997.

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