1. thessaly has no room for your bones
 
so we dig them up, 
leaving the dirt for another grecian body
it takes most of the day
the little pins and screws that held you together
glinting in the sun
I pick up the breastbone that once held your heart
turn it over and press my palm against it, 
a place I could never reach while you were alive
I trace the dents your heart made
a heart the same shape and size as any other heart
but different, completely, one I’d recognize anywhere
 
 
2. because heartbeats are just a series of shocks
 
I squeeze my fingers against my palms and let go
spreading them like branches as you drop into the earth
shoeless and undrained in a box woven from banana leaves
cotton between your toes, the flat wooden plaque 
burned with nothing but your name
as natural a burial as I could muster
I know my heart won’t stop without my making it, 
and think, just for a moment, I might, and fall beside you
in that studied dramatic way old movie stars 
fell into their leading man’s arms, a hand over the eyes
legs curled up, murmuring oh don’t leave me this way
I do none of this of course, never one for a show,
letting you try all the high-kicks, the motivating speeches
I may live another hundred years just on your memory alone,
eating raw and clean and bathing in rainwater and praying with my eyes open
because whatever’s there is everywhere
I may, but probably won’t, warming oatmeal from a packet, 
spooning tuna from a can, keeping showers long and hot
but maybe, maybe I’ll allow myself just this one thing
when I raise an apple to my teeth, the vision of you,
the first day I saw you, eating a granny smith whole, core and all,
and I’ll  crunch the seeds, treasuring that tiny spark of arsenic, 
wondering if all the little parts of you I watched and loved 
until they didn’t exist anymore are hidden somewhere inside everywhere
 
 
3. after reading and not understanding a word
 
I hand the poem back, nodding, yes, yes, exactly
and it seems enough
as it has always been enough for me
another human voice saying yes, yes, that’s it exactly

Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Arts.  Kate resides in Graham, North Carolina, USA with her cats Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.

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