Dante Gabriel Rosetti to Elizabeth

by Keith Dunlap

I have entombed my love poems to you
in the moldering casket of your heart.
Yet I keep returning to the plot of grass,
keep mumbling the halfforgotten phrases out loud,
haunted by visions of decomposition,
under an evening sky of purpling clouds.
As the flesh creeps back from the sockets around your eyes,
your soft hair dries into angel hair kindling,
and your wedding ring loosens on your bony finger.
After seven years, I cannot take it any longer,
and break every solemn vow I have ever made,
hire common laborers to dig through the soft dirt to your grave,
casting aside all sentiment, sweating with nervous pride,
to steal once again what you treasured best,
the manuscript of my devotion from your lifeless breast.