postmortem (a poem)

when I am dead
wash my body
run your hands slowly over the parts
recognize and discover
tenderly clean my pallid, stony skin

then smooth oils scented with geranium into my skin
and my hair
spread fresh rose petals across my body
and wrap me in linen

carry my body, wrapped this way
carry my body through the streets
let the parade form behind me
let them sing and cry out loud

let everyone know I am dead
call them into the streets
dance beside them and all around me
let ribbons fly and drums be beaten

when I am dead set the dogs to howling
and open the bird cages

let time stop when I am dead

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