Funeral in a Time of Plague
I sat shiva with blocks of faces on a screen.
We were a poster presentation of sorrow,
a rubbing-raw away from touch.
None of us could say we’d been.
The dead had been. We were a gallery.
No earth in our hands before the sitting, not-sitting,
no shovels of earth pouring the comforter of earth
upon the dead. No pebbles sing their song of here.
We said the names of the dead, as though we were
a gridded sieve to catch the gleanings from a tel.
Our patchwork of faces and sorrow, faces together in rows
like cards on a table without fortune or predictions, only
face up, next face, next face, and words
as the layering of soil, shovel after shovel, to lay a body down
See my square, which is my own stone. Here.
By Devon Miller-Duggan
Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Margie, The Antioch Review, Gargoyle, Massachusetts Review, and Spillway. She teaches Poetry Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008), Alphabet Year, (Wipf & Stock, 2017), The Slow Salute, Lithic Press Chapbook Competition Winner, 2018). She also directs the Poets’ Corner Reading Series, a joint project of the English Dept. of UD and St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in which poets read (mostly) their favorite poems by other poets—a cross between Poetry Outreach and Story Hour for grown-ups