S  e  c  r  e  t  s    blackmail press 24
Frankie McMillan
New Zealand

Frankie McMillan lives in Christchurch. She is a poet and short story writer and has received a number of awards and distinctions for her work.
Visiting the Dead

When the wooden horse
was pulled through the gates
of Troy, the warriors inside 
stifled their mouths with rags 

Odysseus, the leader 
Ajax   Peneleus   Thalpius   Leonteus
and a score of others who may
or may not have hit on Helen 
not forgetting poor Anticlus
stilled by Odysseus’s
rough hand over his mouth

Once like Trojan tarts    
we fooled an undertaker   
a fat pleasant man behind 
a glossy desk; we shook his hand  

told him we were students
investigating burial
practices in the antipodes
The flight upstairs
took us to the carpenter’s
workshop; to a fleet
of toy boats on dry dock
their chrome fittings
glistening in the sun

Bodies were a funny thing
he said, the angle of the flexed
foot could add inches
to his measurements

Shameless we batted our eyes
at the undertaker
told him we were ready
to visit the parlour

Three bodies lay
bundled on a bench
the puff all gone
from their sails

That night after the slaughter
the city lay smoking
we drank wine in the dorm
told glorious lies to our friends.