M

by Colleen Coyne

Take photographs

of my corpse at the grave: lonely.

The sole flash and clicking shutter.
The ground mutters.

Take what remains. Rename it.

Fertilize the clutter of alphabet, so we know
at least one thing grows on stones.

We love what shrouds we wear, flesh tones.

When the body erupts, it floods
the underground river—


Colleen Coyne is the author of the chapbook Girls Mistaken for Ghosts (dancing girl press), and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, Handsome, alice blue, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. She lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches writing and works as a freelance writer and editor, and is a member of the Caldera Poetry Collective.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Take Photographs”?

This poem takes its title and first line from a line in “Death Poem” by Jumah al Dossari, in Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak (ed. Mark Falkoff). Over the course of several drafts, I tried out different pronouns/points of view; in this final version, the first-person plural, I hope, links the personal concerns of my poem and the political concerns of “Death Poem.”

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