‘Almost Animal’ A Poem by Didi Jackson

From the Collection Moon Jar

April 21, 2020  By Didi Jackson

after Käthe Kollwitz

I heard they no longer sew eyelids of the dead shut.
At the morgue, I busied myself counting
the lacerations on my husband’s neck and wrists.
I wore sunglasses and a light jacket
and pressed my palm to his wrapped chest.

After the dried blood was wiped from his face, his jaw was set
with a piece of string. They tried to leave a natural appearance.
I wanted to smooth his clothes; I wanted to clean his hair.
His throat was a village, my palm an iron of matrimony.
I wanted to burn the holding room, jar and sell the ashes.

At home, the hours layered like moths.
I didn’t eat and slept some nights. This was my way
of waging war. There was nothing left for me.
I carried him on my back and over my shoulders. I carried him
across my forehead and between my shins.
But it didn’t matter; he was going right into the fire.
I should have been the one to have prepared his body.


moon jar

From Moon Jar. Used with the permission of the publisher, Red Hen Press. Copyright © 2020 by Didi Jackson.

Didi Jackson
Didi Jackson
Didi Jackson is the author of Moon Jar (Red Hen Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, New England Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. After having lived most of her life in Florida, she currently lives in South Burlington, Vermont teaching creative writing at the University of Vermont.

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