Death Party by Hadara Bar-Nadav

My mother assigns
the couches names—

          Garbage, Salvation
          Army, T (my favored sibling)—

she wants to control
what remains.

Clouds strain through
threadbare seams.

The legs have gnawed
off their own skin,

trembling atop
the crippled feet of lions.

The crematorium
has been paid in full.

The mausoleum
accepts installments.

The final plans
are final

until she changes
her mind again.

          Her mind changes.

I am not invited to attend
to such matters with a pen

and post-its in hand,
to walk her final rooms

perfumed with Mademoiselle
and moth balls.

Death is an activity,
a dream, a pursuit,

as her yellow notes
float to the ground—

          a tickertape parade
          of miniature ghosts.

What is fixed then
flies away.

The furniture, the family,
the finally gone.

Laughter rises
from her cracked teacup.
Hadara Bar-Nadav’s most recent book of poetry is The New Nudity (Saturnalia Books, 2017). Her previous books include Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (Saturnalia Books, 2013), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012), Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007), awarded the Margie Book Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Fountain and Furnace (Tupelo Press, 2015), awarded the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and Show Me Yours (Laurel Review/Green Tower Press 2010), awarded the Midwest Poets Series Prize. In addition, she is co-author with Michelle Boisseau of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. (Pearson/Longman, 2011). Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America, and others. She is a Professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.