In my front yard a man in a bulldozer has dug a grave.
They say it’s for a fire hydrant. It looks sepulchral—
a ladder descends into the earth as if you could take the
stairs right to hell. Last night, a collared tabby appeared
out of the sewer and circled the hole. I want to tell you
how brave she looked, sitting on the lip of the abyss.
I want, like the cat, to know what eternity smells like.
She wore a collar around her neck. Maybe it felt like prison.
Maybe it felt like a blessing tethering her to an Earth she’d
like, for one ecstatic moment, to leave. For now, death is
our only access to the multiverse, and a man I know got to go
this morning. He was not a nice man. At the end, he did not
believe he would die, though perhaps he felt his body slowly
sloughing itself off, soft mask. I don’t know how to mourn
a cruel man. Though I reach for it, all my beauty deserts me,
my wings do not unfold. I cook thinly sliced apples in butter.
I beat eggs. There are very few transformations allowed here.
This is one. Glory. Some men cannot give themselves
to life. Glory. These men are the most reluctant to die. Glory.
I sit at the lip of the abyss. I can smell it. Glory, glory.
Katie Schmid‘s work has been published in decomP, The Rumpus, and The Establishment, among other places. She lives in Lincoln, NE with the writer David Henson and their daughter, Margot.