Death Mask, John Keats · Eileen Cleary

While your body releases its 21 grams,
your face gives way to wax, preserves
a thousand hairs on the ridge above your eyes,
this thinning that made you feel
already posthumous. It doesn’t show
your gasping at the first clot you coughed,
not the salt of a single anchovy,
not three bites of bread, not
the sweet melody honeyed and unheard.


Eileen Cleary earned MFA's at Lesley University and Solstice. She’s a Pushcart nominee and has published in Naugatuck River Review, J Journal, The American Journal of Poetry and Main Street Rag. Child Ward of the Commonwealth is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in Spring 2019.