Back Off, Death
Give back the IV drip. Life
wants to put on her fur hip belt,
finger cymbals, glitter lipstick.
Stop laughing at grief days,
people lined up like penitents,
crying like refugees. Life is
researching which panties
look best with a twelve-inch skirt.
When you tip the floor up,
she can slide on it. Didn’t you
used to have better sacraments,
the dying girded for final
journeys, slathered with
sweet-smelling oil? Stop watching
the hanging woman, hair blown
over her bloated face. Teach me
to dance like a crane, awkward,
ecstatic, arms lifted like wings.
Barbara Daniels' chapbooks Black Sails and Quinn and Marie were recently published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas in Pueblo, Colorado, and Rose Fever: Poems is available from WordTech Press. Her poetry has appeared in Mid-American Review, Ars Medica, Solstice, The Literary Review, and many other journals. She earned an MFA from Vermont College and received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. With her husband, David I. Daniels, she wrote English Grammar, published by HarperCollins.