Their bones keen a brittle dirge
for departed faith in possibility,
legitimacy, carried to rest
on backs bent over.
Crowds gnashing teeth, soft
and sticking with rot,
push in on these women
shuffling down the way.
Men reach out to rend flesh
and draw that blood
which horrifies them so.
They reel back but,
seeing the way now clear,
lash out again, desperate
not to be left behind;
they cannot uphold themselves.
The pall bearers scuff
their sandaled feet along
worn paths, bearing their charge
to familiar burial ground.
Amy Kotthaus is a writer, translator, and photographer. She writes free verse and works with black and white photography. She currently lives in Maine with her husband and children.
I'm standing in the wind.
We had five years left to cry,
stay in, get things done.
The wordy gurdy stands
quiet in the middle of my head;
missing pieces [with just enough
shine] rubber-banded tog-
Back then, when she rose
from her beach chair, the weave imprinted itself
on the backs of her jiggly thighs.
Who would have carried it this far,
up the crest between watersheds,
then quit before the downhill?
This was your domain.
Pocket jingling a handful of brads, flat pencil behind your ear,
you’d bore through the browsers; pay and go.
When you rose from the sea
the crown of your head
touched the clouds
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.