Poetry by Hannah Butcher

Read More: A brief interview with Hannah Butcher

 

To the Mortician

I imagine what you look like—
greasy hair, glassy eyes, glove-covered
knuckles.
I bet you have not slept
in weeks because
only the dead should seem like they are sleeping:

and you made sure he seemed like
a dreaming king, yes,
nestled in white, silk sheets,
wrinkled skin, swollen hands.
It must have taken you hours
to mold an empty man.

But did you know
that every crevice of his body
reminded him of Rome?
Did you feel
his ghostly Finnish heart
when you probed his ribs
for memories of home?
Before you forced them closed, did you notice
the blue in his eyes
were Scandinavian seas?
Before you clasped his hands to his chest, did you see
that the lines in his palms
shaped the Arch of Constantine?
Did you finger the gold cross
around his neck,
the jewelry he wore
to remind himself to die with dignity?
He was Jesus, and you, Judas,
pressed your lips to his cheek
as an end to his litany.

I imagine you– a man without holes in his hands or faith in his mind–
are wide-eyed and terrified of being alive.
Do you live
for the irony– for the dried blood and parched sweat?
I imagine you are
greasy-haired and glassy-eyed: preparing for your casket.

 

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Company

Don’t fill up
on coffee,
my mother said,
Because the grinds are too simple– […]


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Hannah Butcher is a poet and author currently attending Rollins College as an English major with a Creative Writing minor. She has won many regional and national writing contests and served two years as co-editor of her university literary magazine.

Read More: A brief interview with Hannah Butcher