Open Burial

He became one with the shallow grave
and the empty heart. The grasping,
claw-picked skull can hear the howls
of a Snowy Owl and the song
of a grey wolf echo across miles and miles
of Nebraska canyonland.

All the nocturnes licked him clean.
Ate his memories, left a blank slate –
wet and glowing like polished chrome.

Because he was left to rot
he became wolf, raccoon, fox and ant.

Now his flesh resides in geometric
sockets of hornet nests and the tall stems
of prairie brome. His sight
lives in the eye of the red fox kit
and the Snowy Owl. And you?

You, good friend, only become dry bone
in a constricted box. Stolen from immortality
by this oaken separation between you
and what you choose to call home.

About Timothy Black

Timothy Black’s first poetic novella, Connecticut Shade, is in its second printing through WSC Press. He teaches poetry at Wayne State College, and is a Cave Canem Fellow. He lives in Wakefield, Nebraska with his wife and two sons. Timothy’s work has appeared in the anthologies The Logan House Anthology of 21st Century American Poetry, The Great American Roadshow, and Words Like Rain. He has been published in The Platte Valley Review and at, has poems forthcoming in Breadcrumb Scabs, Clean Sheets and Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine and has won an Academy of American Poets prize for his poem Heavy Freight.

Leave a Reply