The First Obscenity
Before we turned our eyes from nudity,
Or banished certain words, death was the first
Obscenity—the one from which the rest,
In time, would find their way. The first
To make a joke of life. The first
To show us what may come of children’s games:
A skull left caked in mud, the slicing rain.
What is a rude word if not a reminder
Of the grave in which one’s coffin will be lowered?
An old man’s kiss upon a young girl’s navel
Would not be possible if not for death.
Dressed up in our Sunday best, our deaths
Seem almost hypothetical. They’re not.
Plastic surgeons, age-defying creams,
Air-brushed waistlines on the cover of Cosmo—
These prove our distaste. Death’s in the ghetto.
But only look out past your green kept lawn,
And there it is, unfazed, a grinning fact.