In the Town that Talks to the Dead

By SM Stubbs

Posted on

I. Us

We bring baskets of deviled eggs and ham,
whatever the dead might miss. We cling
to photos of loved ones, set chairs in a circle,
wait for the tug. We’re searching for what
we’ve lost, pieces of our hearts stolen

by death. For my many recent losses
I want to know if the dead heal, if they feel heat
through the veil, if they’re given explanations.
I don’t believe one god made all this suffering.
Or these scars. Or this sunburnt flesh.

A deity should have no patience for misery,
that’s what we were taught. The wind
howls like collapsed lungs; we close our sweaters
against the cold. They are amongst us.

II. Them

The lack of a body, its battle with gravity,
this we like about our place. The lack of
a body, no sudden pulse in the gut at the flick
of wet lips, this we hate about our place.
Memories never stop unraveling, a lazy fade.

You may not know us. Or we may be ghosts
of ancestors who committed murder
to feed the gaping maw that ends with your face.
It won’t help you to know this: eternity
is a maze with walls of breath and weeping.

All is dark. We have met no gods. If they
exist, there is none so cruel as we are
to each other. We cannot say if this is Heaven
or a wound there will never be a cure for.

SM Stubbs