Cadaver poems by Nadia Gaber


But for you.
three pale strips of flesh
trimmed, square
draped delicately across the bridge of your nose
like dough set aside as lattice
or clay, for teacup handles

each kept from crawling back
to offer shade
by one pearl-ended hat pin
pierced into lips the stain of cherries
though they were not

And your body.
wrapped in fine cheesecloth
still soaked in the grease of a turned up apron
how many grains of sand
must you have eaten

did you even know you were full of pearls?

open once only

i lifted your skull
severed at the neck
and steered my own towards it
i wanted to see the world
through your orbit
i felt it was wrong
i wanted you to know I tried


dig deeply

dig deeply
don’t be shy
the story’s past the bone

all that remains are
rearranging atoms
carbon keeping time
for two

beneath the bedrock body
are rivers of pain long dried
remember she said to
wash your hands before you start

don’t be scared

use your fingers
dig deeper