I avoid looking on death,
Averting my gaze and holding my breath
As I pedal past the raccoon, spread-eagle on the road,
Its innards outside,
A bewildered expression frozen on the bandit face
(or is it decomposition that makes the eyes so sad?).
Once I dressed a friend for burial,
A gathering of women tugging underclothes over a limp body,
Wiping body fluids that escaped out of the eye socket,
We laughed over shared memories,
Philosophized about resurrection and heaven,
as one must while handling the dead.
It was years before I could eat barbecue sauce
Without picturing those tears dripping toward a cold metal gurney,
A vision of death not quite ready for company.
I suppose decay, rather than death, repulses me
The unnatural tilt of a powerless neck,
An inner life left in disarray,
Rotting in the glare of an oblivious sun.
Body bereft of spirit,
Untidy emotion awaiting epiphany.