Monday, July 15, 2019
First the smell, then the ribs
fetid at the edges of the dark water. 
Rotted, open, I visit each day, 
monitor the slow decay, think deer
then raccoon, then possum. What’s left—
matted fur emerging from mud, 
a small skull, all carnivorous teeth 
intact. Is it not a waste to leave it reeking 
at the shoreline of a manmade pond? 
I plunge a stick into parietal space, pluck 
skull from spine, the bone’s silent release. 
Surrender body by water’s edge, 
a whole faceless face dangles
from crooked branch. I leave 
rove beetles to work, glean meaty creases, 
liberate a waxless shape. Days later 
I home the form, brighten it with bleach
to adorn my altar. Kin to hawk feathers, 
driftwood, Caribbean shells, round stones 
smaller than my palm. Preservation—
an act of praise. I kneel in reverence, 
forehead to floor in prayer. 
Monday, July 15, 2019