A Bed Reduced
A bed reduced to furniture waits on only death,
an unmoored river dory
to float the weathered body until its final breath,
its frame no longer shaken by throes of love and birth;
it couches but the dying
until they’re couched in earth.
But once the heart is cold and pallid flesh disposed,
then come again new lovers
to furl the lowered drapery and turn the linens rose.
We hold strange commerce with the dead
and leave well-made their empty beds,
read their letters and their books,
and silver frame their younger looks
in fading color photographs
iced behind smudged sheets of glass,
and stash farragoes of their things—
watches, scarves, hairbrushes, rings—
in boxes kept in closet corners,
keepsakes waiting other mourners
for when another will is read.
We hold strange commerce with the dead.
Edison Jennings lives in the southern Appalachian region of Virginia and works as a Head Start bus monitor/driver. He holds a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. His collection of poems, Intentional Fallacies, is available through Broadstone Press and other outlets.