Scott sits in my house after his grandmother dies
and tells me all the ways they might sew her mouth shut
for the funeral.
There are three main ways they do it, he says.
There’s a kind of mouthguard, and a dermal punch,
or sometimes they might attach wires to the gums
to crank the mouth closed. And if none of that works,
they’ll just sew you up. Needle and thread.
Scott stares into his tea.
He’s been reading a book about mortuaries, which he recommends.
He’s learned all kinds of useful information, especially now,
with both of us considering how we would want our own mouths kept closed
when we die.
In the old days, Scott says,
they’d just roll a towel under your chin
to keep your jaw from dropping.
(I like the last way best, the old, old way,
where they tie a ribbon around your head
and hide the bow in your hair.
Package my corpse
for the afterlife,
like a gift.)
Dessa Bayrock is an ex-journalist and current PhD student. Her poems have appeared in Raspberry Magazine and The Maynard, among others. She lives in Ottawa with two cats and a tiny jalapeño plant.
You can find Dessa on Twitter at @YoDessa, and she had a blog documenting the books in her house at newbookinthehouse.wordpress.com.