The Key by Verian Thomas

(photos by the author)






hit unexpectedly, a sucker punch

with raw tattoo knuckles

spelling out your death.


It was a cat drowning sack

of a hundred degrees of loss,

dropped with a blue brick.


Tower block collapsing

into a smoking electric chair,

fingers fumbling numbers.


No reply from the disconnected,

mobile account terminated

with a detached key press.


Ravens gathered silently

Inside the funeral pyre,

Putting out the flames.






At my Grandfather's funeral

the grandsons were to carry his coffin

from the hearse

to the grave.


There were seven of us.

I was left on the corner

at the back

barely touching the wood.


An outsider.


Several years later

my Grandmother died.

Five grandsons were there as

the hearse driver asked,

How many are carrying the coffin?

One of my cousins replied, four.


This time my fingers

never touched wood.


The outsider.


At some point

I will be the insider

and they can carry me.