I paint my dead fang-like, in memory.

in flesh, all my dead have the same

sunken eyes and greying skin.

there is nothing habitable about them.

not even for love. they crush my offerings,

chap-lipped and greedy-fisted.

the thing about my dead is

they still breathe. and yet

this does not make them alive.

my dead bear pulses but

lack hearts. my dead have forgotten

what it is to be warm-blooded.

my dead knew goodness once

and forgot. my dead loved me once

and forgot.

they’d eat me, if they had the chance. so

I make myself a rotten thing, let

all the ruin of me seep in.

I do not know what to do with my dead.

as with all of my losses, they have heartbeats

and eyelashes and toes. just like me.

to speak their names would be

to make a funeral of my mouth.

there are better things for my teeth to do here.

my dead share my last name or

kissed my last name, so I gave it back.

not even the dirt will accept my dead.