My friend in Sacramento drives a van
full of body bags, all different sizes.
He works for the coroner — the pick-up man
they call when unattended death arises.
He finds we die in ordinary ways.
Sure, last month he gathered a man a train
had scattered across the tracks. It took two days.
But usually they call him when a stain
from the upstairs apartment appears and drips,
when the odd smell from next door starts to reek,
when someone notices the old woman
from down the block has not been seen in a week.
Yet no one guessed. By then — “corpse soup,” he quips.
He hates these deaths — so nondescript, so human.