My love for you
is like a zombie.
Deep in its grave-dirt it lies
animated but unalive.
It twists, squirms, digs, climbs
until a fingernail pokes up through the daisies,
and then fingers (not quite ten),
and then the hands, wrists, arms, elbows,
and the horrible head.
And then it pulls itself out, like coming up out of a swimming pool,
lifts itself out of the dirt,
Corroded, worm-gnawed, full of holes,
the brain basin mucked with mildew,
its skin more a paste, and its eyes puddings.
Arms outstretch, and off it stumbles.
Meanwhile, back at my house,
dark, quiet, not a creature stirring, etc.
I’m asleep in my bed, covers up to my chin
AND THEN I AWAKE TO THE CRASH!
Stiff zombie arms wrecking through the window,
through the blinds bending and tearing from the sill.
They clatter with the glass shatter,
the zombie crashing in.
I try the praying, the incantations, the charms.
The zombie is unimpressed, and hungry.
It comes at me with great zeal, its teeth clack, its filthy fingernails rasp,
and the smell – have I mentioned the smell?
The smell is sweet like strange fruit,
like an mango, but sweeter, so sweet its sour,
like a thousand mangoes smashed in a sour brown mash simmering in the sun,
smells like bruised cherries, chewed pits, banana peels,
like a softly rotting cantaloupe.
The zombie smell is putrid, and pervasive,
and in no time I have this wet rotting sweetness in my pores, at the roots of my hair,
under my pajamas, inside me. The smell.
Meanwhile, the zombie
bites my face,
like seriously it bites so hard it breaks the skin. I grunt and push away, push hard into the flimsy flesh hanging loose from zombie ribs. My cheek burns, spit-streaked. The zombie's sallow teeth are exposed, my blood vivid against its lipless maw. The zombie rushes at me, and I punch, I kick, I thrash, but still it rushes. I punch the bony face and an eyeball slops out. I kick it in the bony thigh, old bone splinters, but the zombie is undeterred. It has a supernatural strength borne of a singular ambition, a focused, singular intention
To eat my brain. To consume my flesh. To have all of me.
Luckily, it is then I notice my trusty chainsaw in the corner!,
and my machete!
I angle our brawl, steer it just so -
and then I have my weapons!
The chainsaw chokes to life,
the machete gleams.
I swing my arms.
The machete catches under the chin, pops off the jaw.
And the chainsaw gets an arm, right above the elbow -
off. Onto the floor.
I swing and swing and swing
and the parts fall freely.
Of course I nick myself here and there
a cut, a gash
but a gash is a scratch when faced with the fate of being eaten by a zombie.
The awful zombie is in pieces on the floor.
This is of great relief,
but now, what, a pile of zombie parts in my house?
I put it in a garbage bag, a hand, a foot, a chunk (neck maybe?).
The pieces ooze,
the cuts have opened bad pockets of puss, maggots, curdled gore, runny marrow.
And the bag is heavy. Mostly bones, some mold, some meat, but still
it weighs a ton.
I drag the bag bumping down the stairs,
across the street, through the field by the gully,
into the woods, into darkness, into dew.
With shovel, pick ax, bare hands
I dig. The ground is damp, old, cold, but the musty dirt smell soothing. I dig
dig and dig and dig, deep as I can,
deeper, there is no purpose in putting any kind of zombie in a shallow grave.
I must ignore the shuddering sack, the black plastic bag spasms,
kick the twitching bag down the hole
and cover it, reverse it, put the cold clay back,
a low, smooth mound compact as asphalt. I jump a jig up and down
for satiety, to ensure it is tamped.
Back at home, board up the broken window,
sweep the glass away. I'll get curtains;
I never liked blinds anyway.
And anyway, the place needed a good wash, a scrub,
the smell of bleach astringent in the sweet rot.
I wash off the gore and muck,
blood, mud and moisture.
I wash off the smell, the sweet sour brown syrup.
The house is restored.
All is warm, clean, replaced, at peace.
I go back to bed, covers up to my chin.
deep in its grave-dirt the zombie lies
animated but unalive.
It twists, squirms, digs, climbs -
Repeat repeat repeat
my love for you
is like a zombie.