Richard Peabody

Unzipping the Body Bag


A duffle bag for the dead.

My father has twigs and leaves

in his hair. I brush them out.

The state troopers wouldn’t

let me see him.

The funeral home attendant

standing behind me—to catch me.

Fear of lawsuits.

His skin so cold

like half-defrosted meat.

He’s not here.

The body just empty luggage.

Richard Peabody wears many literary hats. He taught fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University for 15 years. His Gargoyle Magazine (founded 1976) will release issues 74 and 75 by the end of 2021. He has edited (or co-edited) 26 anthologies including Mondo Barbie and A Different Beat. Guinness on the Quay was recently published by Salmon Poetry in Ireland.




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