News from the Dead at Dozier School for Boys – Judith Roney

            After Henry Scott-Holland’s “Death is Nothing at All”

Have you found us yet? Found us all?

            We are singing, little bird-wing bones weeping

for milk-toast, for apricot-colored me-free sky

            where we’d seep sleep-

bound, unbound, un-raped and unshackled.

            Death is nothing at all, like blowing smoke

it does not count, we have only slipped

            away into the next room, under

the floorboards of—

Nothing has happened. 

            Everything remains exactly as it was. See the bed frame?

See the stain?

I am Puck-Bean, and you are Mister, 
            and the old life we lived so un-fondly together

is untouched, unchanged here. Whatever we were to each other,

            whatever you made me that I am still. 

Call me by the old familiar tree. The live oak swaddled

            with moss in the small field. Speak to me

in the easy way you always used. Touch my cheeks

            with your calloused fingers, spank. Dig my hole

again. Play, play with me. Pray to the swamp god

            with me. Put my ribs in your mouth one by one.

            It is the same as it ever was broken. 

What is my death but a moth’s slow night? 
            Why should I be out of your mind because I’m out of sight? 

I am but waiting for you, in a pine’s womb
            somewhere very near, just around the corner

of your potent kiss, your uninvited entry

            under the oak’s gnarled legs in the far field. 

All is well. 

            Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 

One moment and all will be as if

            you got away with knocking at my door.
Judith Roney

Judith Roney’s chapbook, Waiting for Rain, received an honorable mention from Two Sylvias Press, her book, According to the Gospel of Haunted Women, received the 2015 Pioneer Prize. She teaches at the University of Central Florida, and is a teaching artist for The Poetry Barn

Share your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.