Carrying Caskets by Lynne Schmidt

I avoid your mother for years.
I carry your casket from apartment to apartment
occasionally lifting the lid, watching your body decay.

When your mother comes to visit
I hide the casket in my bedroom.
Your body slides out,
down the stairs,
nearly touching your mother who does not look up,
does not see the skeletal remains of her youngest daughter.

I drag your body up the stairs.
I wrap what remains in a blanket.

I have to hide you,
                have to hide you,
                            have to hide you.

My sister asks how long
I’ve been carrying you,
and I tell her

I dug up your grave
the day after the funeral
and have carried you since.


Lynne Schmidt is the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor. They were a semi-finalist for the 2022 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest, and the winner of the 2021 The Poetry Question Chapbook Contest and the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest. Lynne is the author of the chapbooks, SexyTime (TPQ 2022), Dead Dog Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2021), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West, 2020). In 2012, they started the project AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given a choice, Lynne prefers their pack of dogs and one cat to humans.

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