It wasn't the unwitting look I took
of Marilyn Monroe's decapitated cadaver
Her fur coat draped
over my wicker welcome mat
in one conclusive squirrel caper
That kept me from sleep that night

Nor was it her detached eye
Its everyday gaze trustworthy
while eating walnuts I tendered
Now cast in an ogle of eternal accusation
Unnoticed by my cat cleaning her paws nearby
But accepted by me in split-second accountability

Before I scraped the carcass with closed eyes
and disposable gloves into the garbage
To enforce final rites
onto the city sanitation office
Reckoning the plastic body bag
showed enough respect for a squirrel

It was that last line of reasoning
that wouldn't rationalize into repose
As it scampered across the bedroom
Incarnate in a furry little phantom
performing comedic acrobatics
That summonded me outside at midnight

into Marilyn's make-do coffin
Where I laid her body on a linen napkin
Stroked the white buxom chest with bare hands
And embalmed her with saline solution
for a flashlight-lit funeral.
My other body was not cold

before my wife deposited
my brain inside the dog.

She engineered this new me,

to stop all the words -
my perpetual talk,

claptrap, blabber, and chatter,

endless pedantic lectures,
countless cruel arguments -

and then there were my poems.

No more. Now stroked
and cuddled every day,

I am more or less content

with canned meals and long walks,
the occasional roll in compost.

I have very little to say -

except when the moon swells
and I am left out back at night

as echoes from another life

escape my skull, then fade
away before dawn.
Morals About Marilyn
~ Ellaraine Lockie

~ Noel Sloboda