Kerri French

The Funeral Year

I built a headstone from baby blocks,
tiny letters stacked across the bed.

Flowers crept through cracks in the floorboard,
a procession of words caught under my tongue,

strange names for rain, sun.
I spoke to weather but not to myself.

I reached for the glass. I hid behind stone.
I spelled her portrait across my body,

skirted the lines between limb and vein
until even the idea of her felt cool to the touch.

I planned my own funeral instead of hers,
the map to the house swallowed through clouds.

And still, doctors gathered outside my window,
a nest of eggs buried beneath their feet.


Kerri French’s poetry has appeared in Barrow Street, Mid-American Review, storySouth, DIAGRAM, Waccamaw, PANK, Best New Poets, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. Instruments of Summer, her chapbook of poems about Amy Winehouse, is available from Dancing Girl Press. She lives and writes outside of Nashville, Tennessee.