National Poetry Month: Death by Sally K Lehman


By Sally K Lehman 


Soylent this or that doesn’t have nothing on it 

Life afters and life durings and ping-ponging your way through life 

Intruders in the soul cavity of every man, 

Any man, my man, her man 

Jesus, man, just hold it up a minute 


Look at the dead guy in a coffin 

Let’s prop him up sitting so we can all see  

Maybe take a poke 

Maybe he flinches 

Dead men telling tales of Lazarus and rising gods 

Dead men talking stories in hard wood caskets 


Mending ties that bind that wind that find us falling 

Always falling into the next day, 

Next minute, next moment, next 

Big thing to hit the market in flattering corpsewear 

Good God, hold on 


Look at the baggie full of ashes 

Let’s say it’s used for weed 

Maybe we smoke her 

Maybe we sweep her 

Dead mothers in little brass basics 

Dead mothers in urns for permanent consideration 


She bit it, bought it, laid it down onto the good green 

Earth meets ashes meets dust meets 

Let’s get it into our brain, no more Mom. 

She spent the year – August to July –  

Busy with the business of leaving us behind 


Look at the sad little photos of the end 

Let’s pretend she’s not all bone 

Maybe it’s a diet 

Maybe it’s a myth 

Dead is too real for the long run 

Dead is too much for little lost girls  


So deal with it, girl. You’re alone in it, girl. No more answers, girl. No more upset. 

So sing about it, talk about it, write about it, hide away from it,  

Because getting quieter  

and quieter  

only makes you want to scream. 


Originally Published in Perceptions: A Magazine of the Arts, January 2018