Last Rites : New Poem

Most of my ideas for poems gather in my head when I’m trying to go to sleep. The idea for this one came last night at about 1am. Very rough first draft.

Last Rites

Before you are to lie with the fire,
I touch every part of you.

I bury my face in the wilderness
of your hair. It still smells of our bed,
of our last sex.

I push my lips against the hollow
of your throat.

I lick your waxy knuckles
and the webs between your fingers.

I nuzzle the nebula of freckles
gathered around your Adam’s apple.

I press my body against the curve
of your ribs, your chest, the place

I would settle my head and fall asleep
to the calm drumbeat of your heart.

I nose your hard calves and finger
the birthmark in the shape of Iceland
on your lower back.

I give my mouth to your mouth,
to the lips that loved me and loved me and loved me.

I want you to kiss me back
to fumble for my tongue.
But you are as still as iced earth.

****

They pass you back to me
in a box made of marble, black
as nightfall in a forest in the far north.

I make a fresh jar of cinnamon sugar.
I use a clean teaspoon to add parts of your dust.
I shake the jar until everything is coated,
until spice starts to fog up the glass

I butter the toast right up to the edges,
the way you always liked it. I put it
under the centre of the grill so it’s done evenly,
exactly the way you taught me.

I binge eat several pieces,
until my teeth are filthy with spice
and sugar and you.

I mix three tablespoons of your silver
into my exfoliating scrub and apply everywhere.
Even my heel bones. The gulf of my back.
My eyelids.

I blend handfuls of your fragments
with paint and silently shape you into a sunset
over our sleeping child’s bed.

Our tattoo artist combines the last of your grains
with black ink. He crawls his hand softly
over my chest bones, and, in a beautiful song
of pain, puts you home beneath my skin.

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