I find him huddled on the lawn,
a silver tom turned stiff with frost.
A portion of his skull is gone.
A frozen ring of blood’s been tossed
in jagged fans. Now here he lies,
where first November ice preserves
the violence for my morning eyes.
Its monument goes undisturbed.
I think about my brother, dead
at twenty, broken window glass,
his shattered spine, his ruined head
spread open in the moonlit grass.
Sometimes a cemetery stone’s
less certain than the burning markers
of engine oil, grease, and bone.
Those litanies make truer, darker
reminders of the twisted steel,
the record of post-mortem harms,
abrasion from the steering wheel,
the abject angle of his arms.
Some are left as misshapen vessels
mangled beyond the point of prayer
when morning mist dissolves like angels
and night escapes the fuel soaked air.
So I kneel beside the tom and tear
his body from the greedy earth.
The ground is hard this time of year.
I’ll dig a grave for what it’s worth.