Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

Jim Daniels: My Security Question

The closet in her room
remains as she left it
clothes losing their dark
interest. Ghosts in the dust.

June 2, 2022 · 3 Comments

Jim Daniels: Strawberry

the final time I saw my mother
she was trying to find
the last strawberry on her plate

May 8, 2022 · 2 Comments

Video: Tengri

According to the ancient religion of Tengrism, at death, the wind spirit ushers one’s soul back to the sky god Tengri in an inevitable return to nature. In this short film, the Mongolian-born, Montreal-based filmmaker Alisi Telengut uses hand-painted animation to illustrate the Mongolian postmortem ceremony known as wind burial.

April 6, 2022 · 5 Comments

Jeffrey Harrison: Disconcerting

The word became the mantra of
her last few years, which were, in fact,
often disconcerting: her descent
into dementia, her cancer diagnosis,
her fall, her fractured hip.

April 5, 2022 · 3 Comments

Christina Rossetti: Up-Hill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

March 25, 2022 · 2 Comments

Carolyn Holmes Gregory: The Body

You know you are not in charge
of your body any more
despite its joyous odes
and incantations.

March 10, 2022 · 3 Comments

George Yancy: What I Learned About Death From 7 Religious Scholars, 1 Atheist and My Father

Just a few days before my father died in 2014, I asked him a question some might find insensitive or inappropriate: “So, what are your thoughts now about dying?”

January 9, 2022 · 11 Comments

Rachel Hadas: Ghost guest

I sometimes think I recognize the face
of my own death. Knowing it is nearer
makes me feel it ought to be familiar,
a neutral guest I’ve seen somewhere before.

December 29, 2021 · 4 Comments

Jason Irwin: Ouija Board

I asked When? And How?
I was thirteen. My cousin, twelve.
It said I would be 41.
The same age my mother was that Christmas.
Elvis was 42 when he died. Jesus, 33.

December 23, 2021 · 3 Comments

Al Ortolani: Paper Birds Don’t Fly

Sitting at the table with the paper birds,
she unfolded mine and began to read.
I couldn’t make out a word
she was saying.

December 7, 2021 · 1 Comment

Fred Everett Maus: Yellow

In the days after, we did not weep in each other’s
presence, nor hold each other, nor say much
about our feelings. It was how we had always been.

November 30, 2021 · 5 Comments

Christopher Bursk: The Necropolis of Tarquinius

We’d just discovered a new word—necropolis—
and now we wanted a city of the dead
of our own. But it was too hard digging life-size
trenches, so we settled for the flower garden
our mother wouldn’t need anymore.

October 28, 2021 · 2 Comments

Gary Fincke: The Double Negatives of the Living

I could talk
Two hours past midnight with
My father in the steelworker
Idiom of his city.

October 21, 2021 · Leave a comment

Gary Fincke: The Local Cemetery

Says she has purchased space
In the Garden of Dreams,
Which, so far, leaves me out

August 31, 2021 · 2 Comments

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