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.

by  BABO KAMEL
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