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.
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.