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).