Guinea Pig

From the book Second Skin

When the small hill
of the mother’s body stayed still,
I knew she’d died.

Fanny sat in the woodchips beside her.
When I returned with a ziplock bag,

she lay right on top of her, making
a soft, almost inaudible sound –

her mourning strangely the same

as any other I’ve known –
the same perfect limpness
of one body thrown over another
like a hopeless cloth,

and the sound of deepest sorrow,
muffled as though it came
from the center of a gigantic stone.

I couldn’t bring myself to move her.
All afternoon she lay
on the sudden silence of
her mother’s heart

and on the slower news
of the body, which still
offered a fading warmth.

Next Poem

In the Women’s Locker Room