Thanatopsis 1920 1472 Chris McCann

One blue morning
you wake up
dead and all
the birds are singing.
The coffee tastes like silt.
It lays down a fine
bed on your already
rigid tongue. Oatmeal
goes down reluctantly.
Someone you don’t recognize
is in your house
if it is even yours anymore—
he tells you it’s time
to go to work,
but what is a job
to the dead?

Still, your cold
fingers grip the wheel
and the car, miraculously,
goes. You roll down
all the windows
to release the stench
of decay that rises
from your body
like steam off a roof
after rain.

What have you done
to deserve this,
hauling around
a foul corpse smiling
at the woman
returning a carton full
of broken eggs?

It’s almost funny,
but then you’re in the breakroom
and Jeremi and Angel
and Cristina are eating lunch.
You don’t miss it, honestly,
because it’s not need
that drives your body
but want—and right now
all you want is to be allowed
to disappear but everyone
keeps talking and touching
always touching and you want
to say how can you stand it
touching this rotting skin
and they laugh
until they see you’re not
and then they walk away.

Which leaves you in the middle
of your well-lit sarcophagus
looking out the only
window onto the beautiful
parking lot
with its shining pools
of rain. You always
thought there’d be some comfort
in the world, but even
the crows that line
the wires above
the cars have flown.
Do you remember when you hid
your wings beneath a t-shirt
and everywhere was sky?

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