Secrets of the Dead Zachary Eddy Poetry

local_library Secrets of the Dead

by Zachary Eddy

Published in Issue No. 249 ~ February, 2018

It’s not pretty, they say as they peel

your carcass off the pavement.

Car wreck, on your way to chemo

from rehab. You’d be surprised

how often 20 percent hits.

You should have gambled more.

Now, they’re stealing your organs

for science. Sewing you back up,

sewing your eyelids shut. Rouged.

Looking lukewarm in a suit

you never wore. Like a ventriloquist

dummy run over in a fit of rage, then

reassembled and polished in apathy.

In homage, Monks are said to sit

with their dead loved ones for days

and even weeks. Watching the stages

of decomposition must provide a closure

like no other. Better than a Good Book.

Here, they cry over you as you enter

the dirt, reeking of formaldehyde.

The ground swallows you: Autolysis.

Your casket is modest; you might have

done worse. In some parts of the world,

cholera is still spread by dead bodies

infecting the town’s drinking supply.

I miss you too. After the crying ends

everyone starts divvying up your stuff,

fighting over your money,

selling your prized possessions,

tossing the junk, Hello Goodwill, stuff

you worked your whole life to collect.

Meanwhile, that modest casket

has let in worms and spiders.

Self-digestion has ended. Phase two

comes the bloating. The eyes of your

old face resemble the bugs feeding on

your new face. How long before you’re

forgotten? Before they move on? They

keep your picture still behind those

other pictures on the dresser. They still

have dinner each year on the anniversary.

Step 3: Active Decay. Organs, muscles,

and skin become liquified. No longer

foaming at the mouth. Skeletonization is

the final word. By now, everyone you knew

has joined you. Underground, a ghoulish

reunion occurs. The ultimate Halloween

bash. Heaven or Hell? You decide, as you

pretend to like the same people you did

when your bones were still chattering

behind shattering backs. The secret is,

like you, everyone pretends what they do

matters, until finally, our slow rot

dissipates. Gone. Returned. Digested

by Earth. Perhaps, you should have

smiled more, said yes more. Perhaps,

you should have been a pirate, ran

for office—or finished your vegetables.

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I am from Wenatchee, WA. I am an ex-aluminum worker who is now a senior at Central Washington University. I am a co-editor of Mirror Northwest, and author of "The Eagle Screamed in North Central Washington," published in The Confluence.