Beneath Our Feet

No one I know
has ever given a grave
as a Christmas present.

I assume you wear scrubs
and turned your car’s engine off
before the hospital.

I invented this coring machine
that extracts holes
for placing the dead standing up.

I imagine you singing
in the surgical theater
hands moving like a pianist.

Property has become so expensive
there are no new cemeteries
and the old ones are three deep.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lack of Consent

A man trades two slaves for a horse.
I do not have to tell you about his Mississippi accent.

I do need to relate to you that he asked not one question
about how the receiver of the two slaves
would treat them

while the man with the horse sought assurances
the horse would be treated well.

We never think of a horse or a cow as a slave.
Or whether our treatment of them
will affect our entry into the kingdom of heaven.

The owners who argued slaves were livestock property
never stood trial for the crime of bestiality
no matter the numbers of mulatto children underfoot.

Or were arrested and tried for rape
for those owners who argued slaves were merely lesser people.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney