Nicky Beer


To me, you have bequeathed
a half-dissolved
apple, a spider,
and three crescents
of your fingernails.

A large Y of black stitches
has split your trunk into thirds—
a child's rendition
of a bird migrating
towards your feet.

The arc of the scar
on your right calf
reminds me of a hooked trout
I once saw leaping
from the surge of a stream,

a curve of light shaped
by the moment between life
and the infinite space
just above it.

Smoke-browned fish on a white plate,
dawn-grey body on a silver table—
we do not like to linger
on how the dead may still nourish us.

Later, I will tell your family
what no one ever knew,
but you may have suspected:

you had two exquisite,
plum-colored kidneys,
lustrous and faultless
as the surface of a yolk.



"Post-Mortem" is from The Diminishing House (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010).