CM Burroughs’s “Monument the Dead” is our poem of the week as well as one of our Pushcart Prize Nominees. More of her poetry can be found in her debut collection The Vital System, from Tupelo Press. You can also read more of her work in burntdistrict Volume 2 issue 1, Winter/Spring 2013.
MONUMENT THE DEAD
By CM Burroughs
I arrange myself to tedium; till the body – coal-lit in gloaming – bolsters into slips
of ember on the shore.
What river isn’t partial blood; residual odor difficult to place; or worse, to
As any crudely-hewn aperture, I, too, still my instinct to wretch, shiver off sick
delirium, lie down, let whatever through.
1.1 When I wake, I turn and begin again
2.1 Unchaining the desire to revise myself
3.1 In the seam of craving
4.1 My dead strains against the cupola
1.2 From my vulnerability
2.2 That I thought I could
3.2 Born septic
4.2 My dead gathered in a goldfinch
1.3 Turn Turn
2.3 Dressing my viscera in refurbished armor
3.3 Bacteria corralled in joint cages
4.3 My body in the body of bright prey
I make shapes with my hands in mock deformity. Womb.
And what desire? To stare down a birth of foliage
and call it, “fraught.” Causes a curling over, a blackening
to begin. And such is my body that when called it comes.