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Cimetière des Innocents, 1786

A pit of fat
congealed within
the overcrowded

The dead embraced
and intertwined;
names and faces

The graveyard shift
is practical.
No lard is sacred:
souls beware.

The inland sea
of France’s dead
(a casserole,

was carted off
to make pure soap
and Candlesticks
des Innocents.

And thus a lord
may come to scrub
a floor or else
a peasant’s pants.

They melted all
within the vaults
of Innocents’
collective dead,

a tallow tide
of unstitched skin
and mud-digested
human dread:

the end of us
is slow and strange,
forgettable –
and wet.

Other poems from Zenobia Frost's collection 'Salt and Bone'

The Hobby

Civic Duty

Early Rituals