We ask what feeds the ravenous dead—
their clicking bones follow us,
three paces back. We gather up their gloves,
press forgotten doeskin to our brittle ribs.
The smell of their fingers drives us wild.
Their own nails grow long in the grave.
They need a shave. Above
them, we ripen then wizen, like Lot's wife,
we look back. A nation of hunger artists
we always ask, Is it possible to be less empty?
The dead tell us. Flat as opera mittens, they fill us
with invisible loss.
Hardening in the earth like coal, they are
our carbon octahedrons, our own diamondiferous core.