Dead Body by Helen Burke

Dead body
That first time, you think
They’re just asleep.
They’re fine.
In a minute they’ll wake up
Laugh and joke in the old way.
Tell you what won the 2.30 at Chepstow.
No problemo.
You poke them, prod, threaten to
Eat their pork pie.
Nothing doing.
Now you know, the pork pie
Is the last straw.
You never did like heights and it seems
Real high where they are… but you
Tiptoe over. Clamber to the edge
And look down.
This is some mountain. Never
Saw one like this before, once you
Make the summit there seems still a way
To go. You long for base camp
And the last of the food.
With each moment you think you hear
Them whisper love you
But it’s just your own breathing.
All the promises you can make, you unmake.
You tie a yellow ribbon and all that crap.
Someone says stroke their hand.
Someone says say an our father…like
That’s the answer.
But if they’re not here…whats the point.
You want it to be over.
You want to go out and play tennis.
You want to learn the truth, the best song to sing.
You don’t want to be at the centre of the motorcade.

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