A Hidden Grave

by Jay Udall

The someone we killed,
my cousin and I
in our youth, a face
I can’t see, but weak
and dumb—he was ours,
the air become red,
limbs and head severed
to move in the dark
to some hidden grave,
though each place we thought
seemed to scream our guilt
as if some magic
pact with the soil we
had broken and lost.

Finally the fact
sealed in our silence,
all traces erased,
the earth-dragging weight
blood-lugged as we stepped
back into our lives,
our selves, somebody
else’s flesh masks fixed
in place, until I
woke in a world where
no one was missing
because of us, me,
absolved by light, free,
a clean emptiness.

But who did I kill
and bury inside?


Jay Udall‘s work has appeared in publications such as North American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Verse Daily, Rattle, and Prairie Schooner. His latest volume of poems, The Welcome Table, selected as part of the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series by University of New Mexico Press, won the 2009 New Mexico Book Award. He’s assistant professor of English and poet-in-residence at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where he also serves as chief editor of Gris-Gris, an online journal.

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