Janice Krasselt Tatter

by Best Poem

For the Morticians

Since the Pharaohs, the Civil War,
they’ve been among us.
Praise those who touch the dead
like ghouls in the night.

What other would wear the colors
of death: burned wood, dead flesh,
frocked birds that scavenge the once living.

For us they restore the dead so we can grieve.

For us they set the features
we love – eyes, mouth – closing them
forever so we can’t see the eyes cloud,
can’t pretend the mouth quivered
or the lips reached out to us in a kiss.

For us their makeup covers bruises,
the decay of the body.

Praise them for rising everyday
to greet us over death.

For them, I want to say they taught me
that darkness can be my respite:
the emerald water now black in night
embraces the invisible horizon as the shroud
of air gleams in clarity. Like naked words
in night, the wind calls over breaking
waves and answers itself. On white sand
near shore, sand crabs scutter as if escaping
the moon’s light upon them.
Whole sand dollars appear in water’s froth
and light the shore like stone moons.

Janice Krasselt Tatter has a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Ohio University. Her book of poetry was published in 2006 by Temenos Publishing Company: REMEMBERING THE TRUTH. She has had poems published in various journals such as Southern Hum, Red River Review, Poesia, and Telegraf.