Ronald Koertge

(1940 / Illinois / United States)

Sky Burial - Poem by Ronald Koertge

Q. You're Such a Disciplined Writer. Were You Always That way?
A. When I was in graduate school, I worked part-time at a local
library. I ran the used bookstore in the basement. The money
came in handy. There was plenty of time to study.
I learned to know the regulars who talked about living with pain
and waiting for bland meals to be delivered.
One sweltering afternoon I read about Tibetan body breakers
who dismember corpses with their hatchets and flaying knives
so the vultures will have an easier time.
I imagined my own body and the monks asking, "What did this one
do?" And the answer would be, "Not much." As the hand I could
have written with flew away from the wrist.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Poem Edited: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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