When the small hill
of the mother’s body stayed still,
I knew she’d died.
Fanny sat in the woodchips beside her.
When I returned with a ziplock bag,
she lay right on top of her, making
a soft, almost inaudible sound –
her mourning strangely the same
as any other I’ve known –
the same perfect limpness
of one body thrown over another
like a hopeless cloth,
and the sound of deepest sorrow,
muffled as though it came
from the center of a gigantic stone.
I couldn’t bring myself to move her.
All afternoon she lay
on the sudden silence of
her mother’s heart
and on the slower news
of the body, which still
offered a fading warmth.
“Guinea Pig” first appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Volume 8, Number 2.