DECEMBER 21ST, 2002
It’s said it takes seven years
to grow completely new skin cells.
To think, this year I will growinto a body you never will
I’ve always pictured him going strangely—blowing up
in a truck somewhere, laughing too hard just before
it happened, his tiny beer gut fueling the inferno.
But this: the dainty hospital gown, his unsocked feet
pointing out the end of a baby-blue blanket.
He doesn’t move when we walk into the room, doesn’t
stir when I call out softly. I wonder if he’s already dead.
I touch his arm, the hastily inked army-tattoo of a mushroom
on his left bicep. I look down at his pale face,
press down on the tattoo, hope hard that nothing happens.
Mondays are the days when it is composed
in a closet or a spare casket while the composer
weeps silently, a sorrowful score playing out
in his head- a chorus of whimpering strings
or reverent organ pipes conducive to images
of elderly men sitting on pristine couches covered
with giant doilies, clutching hands of remaining
immediate family, eyes fixed on familiar grey
curls that look strangely blue under such conditions.
I will have none of this. My funeral music
will be filled with bawdy trombones and saucy
clarinet glissandos. It will sound like a carnival,
and it will be composed on a Friday, at some
rambunctious bar, as bottles clink around me
and tenders pour a liquid death into small
glasses by my conducting hands.
Bio: Brett Elizabeth Jenkins currently lives in Indiana with her brother and her cat, Marie DeSalle. She has her MFA from Bennington. Look for her poems in Anderbo, PANK, ditch, G.U.D., Writers' Block, and elsewhere. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.