On the Day I Bury the River

I wear white lace to mourn 
because I can cut it between my teeth. 

I take an axe just in case. The coffin is so heavy 
the pallbearers drag it—a limb and a body. 

It screams so loud a tree falls. It claws the wood. 
It hounds. It heavy breathes and says my name. 

It shoulders against the lid to find the opening. 
They bury it with concrete because it first escaped 

the dirt. For 90 days it starved and never once died. 
Most times I am hungry it eats my stomach. 

When they chained the casket shut its arm snapped. 
Every time I walk it moves the ground beneath me. 

Every willow tree I see mourns me. In the sunrise 
the first I notice—how everything is winter dead. 

I leave the service shaking, my lips bleeding—
Oh, how a funeral spills from the parlor. 


Cover Art by Rebecca Pyle

Mackenzie Berry

Mackenzie Berry is from Louisville, Kentucky. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison through the First Wave Program. Her poetry has been published in Vinyl, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Hobart, and Broadsided Press, among others. She has an MA in Race, Media, and Social Justice from Goldsmiths, University of London through a Marcus L. Urann Graduate Fellowship. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Cornell University. Her debut poetry collection Slack Tongue City is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2022. Her website is mackenzieberry.com.

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