The Mortician by @iamspacegirl


They display their dead like Easter hams-

Carefully glazed to look pleasant and fresh.

They mourn by decoration and so

I decorate.


His daughter approaches,

To ask about flowers-

Arrangements, and the meaning of each bloom.

I smell her Belgian perfume and wonder

If she ever sent candy-grams to his desk

When he was alive and thinking of his grandchildren.


He was a pilot before this,

Eschewing ridiculous notions like gravity

And feathers.

I do not suppose he would warm to the idea of being

Trussed and filled with weight.

But, I am only the mortician,

And she does not ask if I would like a brown suit better than

This navy blue, which washes out the blush I have so

Painstakingly applied.


What is rouge on a dead face anyway?

All the beauty in the pallor layered off-

Why should he look excited? The dead are not excited.

Death has relieved them and granted them

Dead expressions.

They should not look as if they will blink at you.


I reach inside to adjust one cuff link,the left, which has gone astray

(Even without the ticks and twitches, the life under their skins, can the dead still manage

To misplace their belongings?)


I turn back to the daughter,

Who wonders aloud if orange lilies wouldn’t be more appropriate

Than the white- to set the mood for mourning.

Orange lilies,

To symbolize wealth and not love,

She is nodding in approval.


If I were not only the mortician,

I would tell her which flowers are perfect for her dead father,

Who loved to fly

And whose pilot wings were pinned to his left sleeve until a moment ago.

And though I am only the mortician,

I will walk to his grave and leave them there,

With a bouquet of Tuberose, which symbolize

Dangerous Pleasure.

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