Body

This is what happened
the dead were settling in under their mud roof
and something was shuffling overhead

it was a badger treading on the thin partition

bewildered were the dead
going about their days and nights in the dark
putting their feet down carefully and finding themselves floating
but that badger

still with the simple heavy box of his body needing to be lifted
was shuffling away alive

hard at work
with the living shovel of himself
into the lane he dropped
         not once looking up

and missed the sight of his own corpse falling like a suitcase towards him
with the grin like an opened zip
         (as I found it this morning)

and went on running with that bindweed will of his
went on running along the hedge and into the earth again
trembling
as if in a broken jug for one backwards moment
               water might keep its shape

Notes:

This poem appears in Falling Awake, © 2016 by Alice Oswald. Published with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Source: Poetry (June 2016)
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