Coal Choke

There is coal smoke inside me
blackening all brilliance
dimming the light
clouding my way
choking my song
it is dark in there
hard to be human in the haze
to see what is right
how to behave
appear normal

When someone dies
rather than grieve the grave
or celebrate the life
I only think
quite flatly
how they’ll never have to
change a toilet roll again
or stir in the oil
atop their peanut butter
or check for rain
on their cell phone app

Death should earn from me
a deeper response
and for propriety
I will pretend
make the appropriate gestures
emit the expected noises
but that is more smoke
fanning out
from my broken mouth
like the mourner’s veil
I must wear
to hide my dead expression


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