Irene Zoe Alameda

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The Musical Corpses

Illustration by Mary Norman

The Musical Corpses


To Mary Norman



The painter loved her monsters. And she knew

She would die young, and her poet-husband

Would stay, alive in their home, to care

For their adult children and to mourn her.

That morning she drew the standing carcasses

Of four old bodies, each one with a big, deep, belly button

In the middle of an expanded abdomen

That gave them the secret resemblance of a violin.


They were all waiting, expecting to be asked and played, longing

To be heard again, even to sound another person’s voice, wanting

To be useful -though dead- like the organic matter of the trees

Before someone new’s hands transforms it into music.