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    • APIARY 11: The Essential Issue

And Being Dead Is Hard Work

by Patrick Blagrave


In Chicago there are graveyards make your head spin

& ghosts often. They fill the air between brick

buildings & that’s what wind is. Sometimes

it feels like it’s just me & a crippled umbrella

against the world & all of its iterations, wave

after wave of bad history coming in

from the backward river, from the pretty waters by the Lake Shore.



In my apartment at my worst, unemployed

on a Tuesday night & for months, for example, an anachronism

visits. He is an immigrant

spirit seeking the place he carved out

the body of a hog for years in my loft space.

Instead he finds me, sleeping, splayed on a floral couch

while a woman is in my bed, & searches inside me

for meat nonetheless, finds nothing.



In the morning he tells me his name & where he’s from

is no longer included in atlases. His strong arms

will not weaken from being unworked. He pins

me down & I am crushed

but he of course has no body. Without a tongue

he speaks my name & it is silent

but for the polka music in his head, godawful,

the searching in mine for whatever it says

above my résumé or on the mailbox door but not for long.



The night she ended my life

there was like any other. It got dark

late in April, the neighbor in the window

did her sit-ups, I made tacos. It rained

which sometimes seems meaningful. She

spoke my name at the beginning of sentences

which sometimes seems meaningful. I wondered

while vanishing why we still bother with names when

there are so many cemeteries.

Read all work by Patrick Blagrave


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