Sometimes the Dead
by BABO KAMEL
My mother is always alive when I dream of her.
In her downtown clothes the silk scarf floats
on her shoulder, she waves her white gloves.
On the hill above the cemetery, the empty wooden swing
sweeps back and forth as if a young girl still rides
its perfect arc above the graves.
In the subterranean station it is night in either direction.
Voices of the dead call to each other across the tracks,
as if each were a name they could return to.
Sometimes the dead cover the mirrors
with their own faces
so when I look at myself
it’s my mother’s features I see--
the way I remember her
in the clamp and startle of letting go.
The dead mourn
for themselves from the dark terminals
their eyes are becoming, all night it’s an orgy
of elegy and I toss and sweat
under the tea-rosed sheets
like a weed in my own bed
as if I didn’t belong there
as if the dead were entitled
to as much room as they need.