First Exit – a poem by L.B. Stringfellow

First Exit

The day I would lay down
to face the sun. In the darkest
hour, they told me not to fear
what, in my mind, I had already
repeated. Because to think is to do.
And since I thought of my death,
I had died already.

I watched those around me
in their slim tombs, the length
of their bodies thick, horizontal.

They were to prepare my body, remove
all but the essential heart
so that I could stare into
the eye for eternity.
They wrote falcons on my coffin
so that my son could become god.
I was meant to keep forever
locked within the walls of Osiris.
But, like a god, I passed
back through life
as through a dark pupil.

It has been miles since.
I return every hundred years or so
through strange doors.
The vulture of heaven is no more
than the stomach through which one passes
at times. I am no more
cemented in eternity
than the crumbled offerings
presented at my first death.

Like the mortals, I keep
repeating this dying
and rising from the dead.


L.B. Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, often exploring themes of transformation, woundedness, and interdependence in her poetry.  She grew up in the Southern US, has worked as a university instructor and as a professional tutor, and holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.

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