A Trunkful of Faces


In an abandoned house we find

a trunkful of faces peeled

from corpses and packed in dry ice.


Did someone hope to dry them

into ghastly Halloween masks?

Or did some warped scientist plan


to explore some racist theory?

The dusty old house grumbles

as window-holes snag the breeze.


Should we call the police despite

our trespass? Some of the faces

look familiar. Einstein, Franklin


Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin,

Greta Garbo, Madame Curie.

This imaginary resemblance


troubles us, but these faces

probably belong to the family

that lived so long in this house


no one survived to inherit.

You’re disgusted by this flesh,

each angry or sullen expression


tough as suede and so rumpled

it could never be refitted

to the skull from which it was torn.


I think we should close the trunk

and forget we ever sickened

ourselves on such trivia.


Look at the brazen light pouring

from the view of mountains budding

with unaccountable tree-life.


A wonder such vegetable thoughts

don’t re-empower these faces

and remind them how to smile.

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