“A STILL-LIVING HEAD. . .”

A STILL-LIVING HEAD of hair.
Body no longer his. No order
shines within it. The mantel candle huddles
as she turns him, lantern of bone, dabs
with soapy cloth, each part of him, which is a god.
Tube and tape pull off, widen the stain on the sheet.
Thrust leg and leg into pants, his own.
Thrust arm and arm into sleeve. Button his shirt,
collar to cuff, then clip off a piece of hair.
He does not move. At dawn the birds come up,
and the smell of rain-eaten dirt.

Joan Houlihan

Joan Houlihan

Joan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry including Shadow-feast, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2018.Her other books are: Ay (2014), The Us (2009), The Mending Worm, winner of the 2005 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays (2003). She has taught at Columbia University, Emerson College and Smith College and serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.
Joan Houlihan

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Author: Joan Houlihan

Joan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry including Shadow-feast, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2018. Her other books are: Ay (2014), The Us (2009), The Mending Worm, winner of the 2005 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays (2003). She has taught at Columbia University, Emerson College and Smith College and serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.