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COLLINS, Donte


Death ain’t nothing but a song

My mother moved out of her body
decided it was no longer worthy

it couldn’t contain her laughter. couldn’t

obey the house-rules of human. her spirit,

that young & fresh fever, to call

the night her dance club. wanted to try

on new clothes, stay out later. My mother
now wears the world. dresses herself with

the tall grass. blushes her cheeks with red

clay. she laughs & a forest fire awakes. she

laughs & every mountain bows to her sharp

thunder. she laughs & each cicada begins

to sing. last night Saint-Paul was cloaked in

steam. fog traveled from some distant heat.

no, I think you’ve got it all wrong. some
one must have asked my mother to dance


Grief puppet

don't tell your Uber driver that you're going to an orgy

besides her name is Diane and she only has this job

because her niece says she should be more social

do not nervously try to cover up your mistake

by saying you meant board meeting

besides it's 3 a.m. and the only things open this late

can also request another thing to open

do not try to cancel the ride it is not your account

those who sent for your body were kind enough

to pay the fifteen fifty it took for you to arrive

your nails are ready to jagat to chew on

you've produced enough sweat to fill the vehicle

and drown you both to consider headphones

you consider ripping out your own tongue

and fear of confessing more

and before you reach for the handle to tuck

and roll clean out of her 2004 Honda Civic

she says how many bodies will you try on tonight

and suddenly she is your mother or her ghost

and suddenly your blood stiffens retreats rewinds

and no one died and the casket is still just wood

unchopped reassembled the tree resurrected working

and grief is not yet a garden of thorns

blooming in your chest

and grief is not yet a question

you've answered with sex

the slow teasing out of sweat like loose thread

unraveling your sadness

and look you're just a boy

grieving until he too is a thing to grieve

until his pulse is as thin and damp

as an obituary panting beneath sweaty hands

and what is an orgy

if not the opposite of a funeral

if not an attempt to press your pulse against

as many strangers as possible

to compare how alive you still are

and isn't the car now your mother's hearse

parading her body to that freshly gutted plot of Earth

and suddenly you are the driver

and suddenly the sky breaks a sweat

its whole body blue and ballooning wet

but you're also the casket

but you're also the soggy grave

parting it's greedy lips

you ghost orphan you motherless phantom

considering the dyes following your maker

buried alive I know you desire decay

Dante desire now a way to die

without losing your body

so why not use it

why not let a stranger lick the grief

from your palms and this too is eulogy

and this too is prayer

and this too can wet the sea

to conjure thornless crops

can sing back alive whatever parts of you died

with her whatever left

and your mother's buried rate

and Diane slams the brakes

you have arrived

she says B save his apartment door

a pearly gate a cliff

overlooking a thrashing Lake

and your blood begins

and you lighthouse your tongue

and you shipwreck an entire room to driftwood

o this festival of lament

the sloppy surgery

this homemade baptism boy

you reek of grief

they smell your sadness

can taste the tears start streaming your cheek

you lonely riot you laughing graveyard

you hungry and haunted boy

I know I know you want so badly to feel alive

you want so badly to be born again

you