the Coffin Close
By Rudolph Lewis
When you hear
this coffin sound
you're know I'm dead
—“One Kind Favor," Blind Lemon Jefferson
Our lives gather in a
corner room where bloodsucking bugs
camp in her bed and
dig sagging walnut flesh. The heart grinds
dark for the god who
returns. A half decade short of a hundred
never again will she
sharecrop in a cotton field or can collards
from her garden for
her daughters, grandchildren in Baltimore.
I talk to her on the
phone. She’s no longer as she was a year ago
—the voice, her
manners, cordiality all remain as always but
she’s somewhere else,
her world our hearts cannot now see.
She was a hardworking
woman with blues around her bed.
Still she prays while
fighting the unseen chief of thieves. Her
tongue can still rake
to flame hate & hurt. In morning depth
hush) she calls only for end-come in her own room . .