REBECCA MORGAN FRANK:
Charlie Clark:

FEATURED WORK FROM BAT CITY REVIEW, ISSUE EIGHT

Casket is an American Euphemism by Rebecca Morgan Frank

Hannah Beswick saw her brother
move before the coffin lid shut, and
in 1895, a physician claimed thousands
of other Brits were buried well
before they were dead. Some animals
wander off to die in silence, seek the peace
of privacy. Soldiers in the Bataan Death
March stumbled off from mercy to die
alone so as to spare bodies that would
carry their bodies. There's controversy
over whether air quickens a corpse's
decomposition or not, which complicates
things for the coffin maker. In Ohio,
a dangling angel fell from stage pulleys
and the audience watched blood seep through
wilting tulle wings. Art can make something
of afterlives, but after the war my grandfather
sold cars and after another war my father taught Proust
and became a night clerk. I'm always wondering
about the angel, if she felt a sense of flying
when the apparatus failed, if she wanted to crawl
from the stage, wanted the leftover trap door
to turn back to the ditch the gravediggers dug in last
week's high school Hamlet. Hannah had herself
mummified in Manchester with orders she be
checked for signs of life. Maybe mourning is eased by
turning a coffin into a casket from which no one
is knocking. The crowd watched the fall.
Marchers wrapped bodies in burlap sacks to carry
on sticks. Many people conspired to hide the flag
draped coffins. Somewhere there was a physician
checking a mummy's pulse one last time.

...................................•••••...................................

from ROY-G-BIV B/W by Charlie Clark

B/W

That's close enough is a phrase

best heard coming from the mouth

of an old movie gangster running

swiftly out of luck. It's a phrase

that admits to a fear, on the speaker's

part, of proximity to whom

or whatever he's addressing.

(What he's addressing, it seems, is

always some form of death and

the righteous.) It's a phrase that

means any closer and I will have to

shoot you because any closer

and I may succumb to you. And

always, it seems, they succumb.