by Richard King Perkins II
Artwork, “Fragmented” by Susan Peters
At the funeral,
we all perfunctorily shake hands,
unconsciously congratulating ourselves
on not being the one praised
nearly seduced by the subtle movements
of fresh corpses
we pretend not to see.
My thoughts are bifurcated—
half alive, half dead.
I ignore the voices of here and gone poets
while reciting their paralytic words.
Despite our silent lunar speak
we’ll lose nearly everything
a memory of us walking backwards
with shoes tied together
toward the rock and stone barrier,
daring above a waterless cliffside.
In the land where the sun still rises
it’s hard to tell if the pitch and bog in here
is worse than what waits outside.
It was decades ago the last time
you pretzeled your skinny Jew legs
around my back
but I shake my head clear
pretending those once familiar sticks
aren’t already rotting in the box
we’re standing all too near.