Afterlife

Richard Kenney

On time to the strike of a silent bell
inside the chapel of the cell

the heretic is whispering.
Spittle flickers on his lips.
The lizard into shadow slips,

the winter wasp staggering.
Soon the lymph begins to leak.
Telephones commence to speak

the stars back to their westering.
Earth laps up above the shins.
Another afterlife begins,

which sometimes feels like lingering.

Richard Kenney is the author of Orrery, The Invention of the Zero, and One-Strand River: Poems 1994-2007. He teaches in the M.F.A. program at the University of Washington.
Originally published:
July 1, 2019

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