The Coffin

The Coffin


The coffin in my living room

is painted with pink dahlias and red roses

with cooking pans and knitting needles

and those pink plastic curlers

whose tiny spikes dig

deep into your scalp when you sleep.


Words in uneven print, scrawled

fitfully like brittle branches

thread among the images:


imp           amore        unfair

miss        delicious     ferocious

infuriating      constancy …



I lie down, settle on the coffin’s hard surface,

savour the discomfort.

Mother, uncomprehending,

lies beneath me, scratches at the lid.

Over and over

I have tried to open it

but it is much too heavy

stubbornly sealed.


And so I lie here

try to keep her warm

with my body, with my breath

with the thermostat set high in June.