by Michael Potts
Lie on my stomach. Feel the
thud of my life slip away.
Death-shouts in my ear cry out,
"One-less, one-less, one-less, one-less, one-less."
Death's sister Sleep arrives, carries her gift, a dream:
a gravedigger shovels heartbeats like
dirt over a grave. They pile up.
He turns, takes aim with black eyes,
points his shovel at the center of my chest.
Bony-arm-powered shovel lunges through
breastbone, shovels my heart into the air
like a clod of dirt. It hangs--
mid-air suspended, beating final, fast,
furiously protesting beats
which the gravedigger catches in his shovel--
he laughs as the grave is filled to the top.
Black night stares me down,
window spits out a dead-leaf-air breeze,
like a black-gloved hand choking me.
Originally published in Frisson 17 (Spring 2000).
Michael Potts is Professor of Philosophy at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA. He has poems published in Bay Leaves, Frisson, Iodine Poetry Journal, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Mid-American Poetry Review, and Poem. His poetry chapbook, From Field to Thicket, won the 2006 Mary Belle Campbell Poetry Book Award of the North Carolina Writers' Network. His creative nonfiction essay, Haunted, won the 2006 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Award, also from the NCWN. He is also the author of End of Summer, a southern fiction novel about joy, loss, and the recovery of faith. He is a 2007 graduate of The Writer's Loft program at Middle Tennessee State University and of the Odyssey Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction Writing Workshop at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA.
Author's webpage: http://www.michael-potts.com
Author's literary blog: http://michaelpotts.livejournal.com