No Wick for the Rested

John Grey

I wake up beside you.

Is that your breath

or just your funeral passing by?

I’m in awe

of the sleeping body

but in fear of mourners

coagulating like dead blood,

all phony tears and velvet backdrop,

and priest intoning

like the beating of an august drum.

You’re curled up like a baby

but you’ve lived years enough

 to fit you for a box,

 for nights to wrap your soul in wreaths.

 for impatient angels to sit upon your skin

 like drops of gleaming sweat.

 You moan. A creak in the rhythm of your passing.

 Your lips flutter. The gathering look around confused.

 What’s this mean? No burial beneath these blankets, sheets?

 You’re not to blame, of course.

 It’s just my wracked and solitary boot-like thoughts.

 You’re dead to the world but not dead in it.

 You lie down

 but you will not lie down.