Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Guinea Pig

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.