POETRY April 7, 2023

After a Burial

I pulled him out of the ground by his hair.
He had grown suddenly, deep
and unfurled in the bed of marigolds.
I sprayed his body clean with a garden hose,
light shower, the water clinging to every bare part of him.

I brought him inside, away from the reach of August heat,
found old clothes that needed another body to hold onto.
I offered breakfast, smoked ham and a mass of grits.
Nothing. He only wanted to eat handfuls
of marigold seeds. I watched his skin turn
bright orange after.

Five days now, and the walls of his chest
emit a glow, small room of light, clouds in his eyes.
To love someone is to keep them living.

We sleep in the same bed, eat all our meals together.
He doesn’t speak, only sits
at the kitchen table during the day, echoed star.
Sometimes, he follows me out to the garden
just to sink his hands in the warm
dirt for hours, breathing marigold, a way to give in.

Michael Beard (he/him) currently studies poetry in Bowling Green State University’s MFA in Creative Writing program and serves as Managing Editor for Mid-American Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Baltimore Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Moon City Review, and other places.