Robert Beveridge

The Child of a Dead Man

Infants, when born, are covered
in blood and water. Some cultures
sponge them off, squeeze the liquid
into a jewelled chalice
for the mother to drink while seated
at the father's grave.

On the Conciliation of Spirits

How many eggs does it take
to fill the pot? The kitchen?
The mansion? Boil them,
all of them, until sulfur roils
from the windows, shrivels
the leaves on surrounding
trees. Prick the indignities
that cause the local nimble-
pannies to mistake you
for a witch, ass the contents
to the liquid. When you run
out of room, hand-roll
your first gross or two of eggs
down the basement stairs.
The mice will stack them
if the dog's too lazy. All
the while, repeat the incantation:
what the eye sees, what
the ears hear, what the tongue
tastes, what the body smells.