A Body in the Basement
Mother takes me downstairs to where the body lies,
gangrenous, grotesque, splayed upon the table.
She makes me look it in the eyes.
There is blood on the floor, dried like rust upon the iron.
An earthwork grave all carved from stone.
There’s a body in the basement, and it smells of spoil,
down in the dark where the blood stains seem to grow.
Mother bides me silent, and so I’ll hold my tongue,
bow my head, lower my gaze, hide my shaking hands.
They will not ask; make sure they will not ask.
Be meek and the body will not speak.
Be silent and the body will not rise.
I warm myself by the fire,
heat burning upon my skin,
low crackle sounding like a warning.
There’s a body in the basement.
Mother makes me look it in the eyes.