I’d been expecting it for so long that when I finally saw
the zombie as I mowed the lawn in my old sneakers
I almost had a heart attack and died.
The old mower puttered off and some crazy silence
gripped me by the chest, the automatic shutoff of the heart
kicking up some dust and clicking into the azaleas.
Art condescends to life so easily, that zombie
shambling out of a movie into my makeshift life
only to hit the kill-switch.
I’d always wanted to be a painter,
but now it was too late, the only thing to paint
are stretching hands, and without an audience,
no real reason to paint them.
Last week I warned my daughter about snakes
in the backyard. Now we’ll all have to get on the roof
or try to drive to a prison. Razor-wire
keeps the bad thoughts inside, so my therapist says
every time I tell him about the zombies coming.
If we could make it to the desert we could live on a mesa
and drink cactus juice, hollow history out of rock walls
and paint our own hands as warning signs to the future,
stop sign held up to history. I’d like to see you paint that,
maestro. Then after a while in the caves we’d hear
a voice coming, the great spirit, drying our tears
and carrying us away through the wind in our mouths.
My heart starts to beat again. That was a close one.
Look again, there’s no zombie. Only my neighbor is mowing
his grass just like a mirror of me, and is he clutching
his chest or is he clutching at me. I smile and wave.
Maybe I’ll go inside and lie down in the grave for a while.
After the zombie uprising
there will be statues of them in the park.
Of course we will have to make them
because they won’t have the dexterity.
We will have to sneak them in
without being eaten. Such is the risk.
The nudes will be noble and the horses
will all be on their sides instead of rearing.
We will make the rules, a zombie with its arm
raised will mean the statue was made by
a family member who hadn’t been eaten,
a zombie on all fours will mean that the family
managed to brain her before she got any of them,
and of course, a platter of severed heads
splashing in a fountain will mean that an entire
community had been killed only on suspicion
of infection. This one will be placed low
so that any new zombies traversing the square
will trip over the bronze heads.
Once we’ve gotten a lid on the whole thing
we can come back and arrange the markers back
into strip malls and car washes. Until then
Sculptor will be the most prized of all jobs.