The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance

The Bunting

by Kate Bernadette Benedict

Who would escape the flesh,
lodged as we are within it?
Without, no eye turns inward, no palm upward;
no hum or hymn or whisper;
no hosannas, no hush.

With age, my mother's eyes grew clouded.
Her spine warped.
Veins appeared---
bloated worms after a rain, abounding.
She moaned: her joints scraped.
She could barely lift a spoon

and struggled with her straw.

"Grandma isn't ready to leave her body yet,"
my niece remarked.
Tasting blood, I chewed my lip and nodded.

Body, O flesh,
the soul tucks herself in your bunting,
however frayed the cloth.

KATE BERNADETTE BENEDICT, of New York City, is the author of the full-length poetry collection Here from Away and the editor of Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.