Requiem in Gray by Anne Cheilek

A jilt in the strip between

curb and heel, monoxide-cured,

piss-pickled, the skeleton

of an alder. Silver skin

cracked down to dun, brittle

sky sticks strung with pearly

preening fruit. As little living

mourners fluff and peck,

leafless limbs stir.

Such loyal brutes

to tender the extinct this shiver

of an afterlife.

Like these words, nesting

in the ribs of last

year’s madness.