after Jeff Beekman
The sheets so clean. What they would have held
mid-battle: blood, spittle, bile, an infection’s
crust of dried puss. Now rectangles
of windowlight float across the unstained fabric,
stiff bodies passing through
in pristine procession. Relic of what.
Rest? The memory of holding
a stranger’s hand? This peaceful cabin seems
a fable. No one ever died here.
No one ever stumbled through the door
hemorrhaging from their gaping chasm
of a stomach. The bed is empty and always
has been. Yes. Wind flaps the door, a lullaby
of leaf rustles in. I feel better, knowing
tonight my sleep will be a cannon of nightmare.
David Brennan’s most recent book is Murder Ballads: Exhuming the Body Buried Beneath Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (Punctum Books). His poems have appeared in PANK, Heavy Feather Review, Verse Daily and elsewhere. He teaches at James Madison University in Virginia.