I am the Cannibal.
I am the one who eats human flesh,
Tears meat from bones,
Sucks out the marrow,
And drinks the blood.
My belly inters the dead.
Consume and digest this-
Memories are but fetishes for necrophiliacs,
Hungry for the past,
And in love with the dead.
I eat alone,
But the world is a buffet of this.
Somewhere a husband kneels over his wife’s grave,
Her touch still warm in the cup of his palm;
A cold breeze like a kiss chills his cheek.
On her way to school, a Ghanaian child
Remembers her mother lost to AIDs. The weight of her loneliness
anchors her heels like a string of cowrie shells around her ankle.
In Iraq a father lowers his head and prays-
A son perished under rubble-a bomb dropped from the heavens-
A terrible irony- blinding and white.
We are the stuff of these things:
The living feeding on the dead.
On my way to school, I passed a dead cat lying by the curb:
Its eyes hollowed, its orange fur thin and dirty, its body rotten and sodden by rain.
The maggots and worms have taken root.
(And I must turn my eyes away.)
Death gives back to life.
The earth takes back her own, and begins the cycle again.
(And still I must turn my eyes away.)
But I am the Cannibal
Who feeds off your corpse.
Like maggots squirming through the flesh of your memories,
I corrupt you in order to bring you back to life.
Death has had his way with you.
He took you as his lover,
Spirited you to his cave,
Ravaged you until he claimed you all-
Flesh, hair, eyes, blood, bones, marrow.
You are no longer who you are.
You no longer belong to me.
Sister-only in memory.
The world claims you now.
But I will be a Cannibal. I will be the Scavenger
Unearthing your bones.
I will be the worm and the maggot,
Squirming through your phantom flesh,
Seeking a home in which to plant my eggs.
In you I give birth to myself.
In you I birth you to life again,
Sprung up from the ground like blades of grass.
I am the mother and this is my womb.
I defend myself against all slander.
I defend myself even against you-
You who condemned the airing of dirty laundry.
You guarded privacy and demanded I do the same.
And now, the sinews of your memory are tossed
Against the boards like offal in a slaughterhouse.
If the earth can profit from death,
Why can’t I?
Let this alchemy complete its magic.
Let me be like Frankenstein hovering over his creation,
Marveling to the world what it feels like to be God.
Let this poem be my Monster,
My vampire, my zombie, my mummy.
Let this be my horror story.
If Hollywood can profit from death,
Why can’t I?
I give this back to you.
I have nothing left to give-
A shoot of grass sprouting from the ground,
A memento mori in your name.