In the late afternoon
she's brought in.
A busy day, big piles of
flowers flying in and out,
phone's constant piercing wail
calling out more names;
when this one arrived.
The latest autopsied one was just finished,
that old one was now already in her cleansing bath
of purifying and preserving
fluid, stuffed with crystals
of the same toxic stuff.
But first she had been untied and spread out
like a half-butchered chicken,
then reconstituted, dressed, painted
and lavishly boxed,
out to a huge dramatic funeral.
This new one, she was quiet,
nowhere to go, no-one to go to,
no-one to set the platitudes
or feign some grief,
and getting all twisted up with the effort.
Her butcher-string braid still holding together
beautiful pale skin
and terribly young, hard breasts.
It holds together the long cut
up from her finely sculpted bush
up deep into her soft smooth throat,
meat-string sewn all along in coarse crude stitches.
The coroner's assistant knew no-one
but the nurses of the dead would see and
couldn't afford to care anyway.
It most of all told: death by misfortune or
self-injested misfortune. Misfortune?
Only by the glorious, fiercely joyful eyes,
(they're still soft with a sorrowed glaze, but dead)
Only by the little bruises all up and down
inside her legs, and the older ones
on her ribs and neck,
and the big ugly one on her face
Only by the tracks
everywhere chasing all the good veins
Could you tell.
Always quietly singing somewhere,
hold your breath and listen.
Don't jump when she touches you
softly in the dark,
or when she giggles
and momentarily blinds a john
at eighty miles an hour
to get him to go with her again.