National Poetry Month, Day 3: “Why I Did Not Make Love to Your Dead Body” by Kirsten Kaschock

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Kirsten Kaschock’s A Beautiful Name For a Girl was the Rumpus Poetry Book Club’s January selection. You can read the book club’s interview of her here, and you can find an extended bio at her webpage at Ahsahta Press.

Why I Did Not Make Love to Your Dead Body

Shouldn’t it be romantic
        to think to take you
    in that final, leaden state

—slowed mercury? Yet,
        coming upon your corpse
    excited me not

to love—but to something
        akin to autism. I was a rock
     that dream, swaying.

No lie—I’ll
        cradle you after
     death if I am able, babble

and coo into your neck
        as if you were my
    boy—some young

thing-I-made. But last night
        in the dendrite grove
    I could not toy

with you. Other times
        we’ve been machine
    —a polyphonic loom

when we living
        loved, fabricating from ooze
     and slap laughter—your sweet

scratch on my coffin-back: sign
        I was the way you chose
     (choose) out of death.

In the dream you passed
        through some portal
    not-me. I neither

held you like I have
        our children nor
     brought your body back

to sense by training skin-upon-skin
        to call it:
     it should work that way.

Instead I left you
        under trees, the indicating
     pines perpendicular—

pointing godward, a place
        where things I’ve made
     with my body are maybe

poems, but
        —nothing else at all.

Kirsten Kaschock


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →