Back to Issue Twenty-One.

my hair is my thing



The symphony’s out of money again, and no
wonder: all those violins, the twisted strands
and sponges—who could not think
of torture? Last week I read a novel about a man
so awful that when he died I wept
because it was fiction. I wanted it to be real
so that he could really die. I wanted
you to die also, and to be feted with a lengthy,
organza-filled funeral, so that I could make
a big show of blowing it off. I decided to go out
and get a tattoo of your funeral with me not there,
but apparently it’s illegal here to tattoo
a person who’s crying. The trend now
is to be interred with beloved possessions:
pearl-trimmed gun, gold watch,
whatever you’ve got. Some people recoil
at the waste of it, but not me. These contused
little objects of wealth—they’re disgusting. I just
pray we have earth and shovels enough. I pray
we have bodies enough to bury them all.


Natalie Shapero is the author of the poetry collections Hard Child (Copper Canyon Press, 2017) and No Object (Saturnalia Books, 2013). She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she is the Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University and an editor-at-large of the Kenyon Review.

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