Josh Bell: Zombie Sunday

Gentle handed holy father, or whomever,
you built us poorly, piscine, and sewed within us
the same impulse, so that all I make and touch
accelerates toward its inherent demise,
and you will not come up with next year’s model, rumored
in the advanced stages of production
and advertised as ready for the show-room floor,
that cleaner strain of riverine biped
swinging on phone wires from swamp to city, serene.
You should have filled me with helium,
knotted me off with ribbon, and tied me to an idiot’s wrist,
because as soon as we’re born, we’re dying
to be born again, just like Christians
and the brontosaurus, the best of your cheek-turning breed.
In short, holy father, you get your kicks.
And I surely thank you for the simple gifts
you did give, despite this will to obsolescence,
the graveyard hands, the bedroom eyes,
and my favorite set of dining room teeth,
all accouterments useful for an evening
on the town, where I can pass for living
among your jilted sapien prototypes
if I keep my distance and my nerve.
Yet the nerves are going too, smoked out,
soldered back, debrided down
to coruscating filaments, stripped of the insular myelin,
but let that pass. This is no time for biology
or medicine, which we have to thank
for the cardinal glimpses of our insides
we were never meant to have. How
were we supposed to live, knowing
what we’re filled with, all curled rope
and blue muscle sidling up against the swollen skin?
I will not complain of lividity and dry-rot,
the phthisic lurch to second birth,
but I will speak of the way in which,
when I set out to save myself for you,
which is the same as from you, I end up
squatting in basements, rifling through
photo albums and dusty filing cabinets,
salvaging the yellowed paper-work,
collecting the frozen mannerisms–right
forefinger on the lower lip–juice for my
uncanny impressions of the well-mannered,
thoughtful human man, who is the taller of the species
and not a different kind of animal.

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