"Book of the Dead"

"Book of the Dead"

"Book of the Dead"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 3 2004 12:01 PM

Book of the Dead

Listen to Garrett Doherty reading this poem.
If you die look at your clone happy to appear, always liking vague immortal things. After you die he talks and talks about you— those who loved you don't talk. After, the rose of Onlooking will ask more of you, the constellations shift, transduce a couple hearts. As soon as you go a cousin inherits the red-checked mother-of-pearl shirt, cracks your viola on the way down the stairs, a little spit to cover it up. After the christening your relatives are trying to give away your rocking chairs, cans of pimento, the Knox gelatin— the same ones who sing to your body Wind blows over what you saw.
In the sage plant a spider blinks for you; a few paws twitch in the pet psychic's dream. In the end your mother's hand slips your umbrella under the wet leaves. Sarah Strong, once your worst love, remembers where her hair brush is now that you're gone. We'd all love like her if we could— the way she thinks of you once in a while when she's hungry, in front of the refrigerator, cool air falling onto her feet.

Garrett Doherty has published poems in Poetry, Quarterly West, the New Republic, the Massachusetts Review, and has poems forthcoming in Verse.