The Masticating Dead
Deep in the earth, they chew
their nails to points, scratching at
the casket’s inner cloth. They
are hungry—the dead—starving
for lives they left behind, people
who should be in their place.
For some, it is revenge. Black bile
bubbling at their lips, forced by some slip
of fate or their loved one’s hands
around their necks. For others, it is the love
they lost that compels them to keep
clawing, to gnaw their way up through
coffin and earth, to reclaim their hearts. Some
we call vampires, others, zombies.
Still, there are others, the dead that grind
their own teeth together, wondering
what they did to deserve this purgatorial
plot of hell on earth—what did they forget
that would set them free?