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Sometimes the Dead



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.

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