I’ve never seen a dead body before
which I’m not disappointed about,
like most people, I prefer bodies
which are alive and well
but I’ve seen death;
tasted it on the tip of my tongue.
I watched the branches of a tree
be severed with a saw
and tossed into a metal bin with kindling.
The smell wasn’t the same
as a fireplace, it was the hiss
of bark flesh crumbling,
and it stung;
creeped into my throat.
My eyes watered as the smoke rose
and caused each flower
still standing to shrink,
heads bowed to the soil.
I imagine this is what finding
a dead body is like;
seeing life that should be,
burning in oxygen and dust;
motionless and emotionless,
another mark left on this world
like all of the ones we are leaving
whilst we’re still living –
scorched earth, smothered sky
and a plughole in the sea.
We don’t care enough
until we bleed and taste the bitterness
of iron in our cheeks.
© Kristiana Reed 2019