Or They Might Be the Deer
that dampen the ground
and calm the scrub. 
The hunter drags them out
along a path. They let go their coats. 
This is what they give:
A little bowing underfoot.
A song of lost hair.
Or the dead could be buds that don’t open,
keep to their dark, fall off;
or blooms that have opened so widely
the petals splay like failing stars.
Go on. Collect hair for your soil.
Take bone meal, dried blood.
The dead lie on white cloths before us. 
They say, Eat, earth. 
This is my body. 
They accept 
no offerings.
They leave on the table 
the entire feast 
of our grief.
Here is what the living carry home—
the fall to laurel. 
The retrieval.
Soon the laurel shifts 
and tosses with a hopping thing—
a towhee, calling,
drink your tea drink your tea.
This is not an elegy.
I am not standing in the woods
gathering the hair of the dead.
I am drinking my tea. 
The tea is over-steeped.
The black leaves
keep catching in the throat.
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