Before you cremate or bury me
in the low-cut, down to there
blouse, tickle my nose with a feather
or barely touch it to my nostril.
If anyone gives you a hard time,
tell them your mama loved feathers,
preferred them to flowers. Don’t believe
the doctors. They make mistakes.
I don’t trust those doctors. They play golf.
I’ve loved one doctor,
Dr. Martin Luther King. He was my hero.
I hope he was dead before they buried him.
You never know. He was on Hoover’s shit list.
How many people did Hoover bury alive
after prancing in red satin
like a half-dead cardinal? I wonder
if Hoover was dead before they buried him.
Do you care? I don’t care about a lot
of people. I never told you about my childhood
by the river when that old man grabbed me
and touched me and kissed me.
I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do,
so I sang. First so low only the frogs
could hear, then louder and louder.
The old man was so startled,
he loosened his grip for a moment.
I wriggled free and ran and ran
up the river bank singing so loudly
I couldn’t feel my feet,
and I forgot my name.