The Way of Zombies

By | 1 April 2010

We weren't supposed to hold the hands of the ones
we ate. Looking into their eyes, also forbidden.

No one asked for names, not once,
not even when the screams reached a crescendo.

Somehow we knew what to do by instinct, the way flies
know to deposit eggs in warm rot and lizards know
to shed dead skin even if it means
rubbing skin against stone, vigorously.

The hunger was enough. The hunger drove every move,
every decision. No one gave instructions or wrote
our obligations inside books. Sometimes we suspected
rules, but no one discussed them. When Cleo

devoured a boy smaller than herself
and snatched the toy boat from his hand,
not one of us ordered her
to leave it.   I turned, just as we were about to ascend

the black hill behind the children's hospital,
and saw our father, kneeling on ground
saturated with excrement and blood.

I watched him take the boy's small hand in his own
and hold it, briefly,
before gnawing pink digits down to bone.

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