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About this Poem 

"The poem is absolutely autobiographical. It just took me thirty-five years to write it."
—Ron Koertge

Sky Burial

Ron Koertge

Q.  You’re Such a Disciplined Writer.  Were You Always That Way?


A.  When I was in graduate school, I worked part-time at a local
library.  I ran the used bookstore in the basement.  The money 
came  in handy.  There was plenty of time to study. 

I learned to know the regulars who talked about living with pain 
and waiting for bland meals to be delivered.

One sweltering afternoon I read about Tibetan body breakers 
who dismember corpses with their hatchets and flaying knives 
so the vultures will have an easier time.

I imagined my own body and the monks asking, “What did this 
one do?” And the answer would be, “Not much.”  As the hand I 
could have written with flew away from the wrist. 

Copyright © 2014 by Ron Koertge. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 19, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Ron Koertge. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 19, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Ron Koertge