Death Goes to a Party

by Jay Rogoff

Death does the hokey pokey and he turns
himself around. Music makes you believe
hair grows on scalpless skulls and bare bones jive:
look at those party-animal skeletons,
piles of knuckles, pothooks, and plumbers’ joints
reveling naked. They’ve got to grin, they wave
to a corpse tumbling in an open grave
with worms bopping about its sunshine bones.
Thus concludes the history of the world,
no whimpering but a great rowdy shout,
a clatter and crash like crockery, pots hurled
about the kitchen, hipbones shaking it
in and out, all bones set on making it
the last smashing time. That’s what it’s all about.

JAY ROGOFF is the winner of The Third Annual Robert Watson Poetry Award for his chapbook Twenty Danses Macabre. Rogoff received an MA in creative writing and a DA (Doctor of Arts) at Syracuse University. He has written three books of poetry with two forthcoming, and his first book, The Cutoff (1995) was the winner of the Washington Prize. The poems in this chapbook will appear as part of a longer sequence in The Art of Gravity (LSU, forthcoming, 2011). He teaches English part-time at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.