John Grey’s poem At the Age appeared here in April. Today he tackles death and what follows it. A poetic form of a will, perhaps, but written in a much more lyrical manner. The imagery in this might make you a little queasy, but there’s no way around that.
By John Grey
Bury me in purple dulse on a rock,
if my shroud cannot be the rock itself.
Or let my coffin be the roots of a scotch pine,
the taller the better.
I don’t mind mulch and fungus, believe me.
If six feet under is down where the periwinkle seeds
are mating with the soil
then leave my broken body there.
I’ll be the corpse that dapples the last toothed leaf
of the golden Alexander.
I’ll be the matter that cannot be created or destroyed
if it creates swamp milkweed, destroys ambition.
I’ll swap my legs for cicadas,
my brains for spittlebugs.
The partridgeberry can have my armpits.
My intestine can wrap around the marsh mallow
until that flower returns the notched pink favor.
Don’t let me live on in anyone’s dreams or conversations.
Burn the photos. Cancel the tears.
I’ve done my time in a concrete wasteland.
I’ve seen the future and it’s a May beetle’s claw.