DAY OF THE DEAD

November 1st, the veil thinner, and we remember
those whoíve gone to the other side. Donít worry,
I say, Iíll be there soon. But for now, I mark
the presence of their absence, an ache in the throat,
a finger on memoryís pulse. Light candles to keep out
the dark,to mark a path, should they wish to return.
The floating world shimmers and ebbs. Iíd like to cross
over, just for one hour, see my mother, hold my baby,
talk to Clare. Perched on our shoulders, the dead ride
with us, teetering like pyramids of water skiers, forming
enormous wings. Their words, though, remain inaudible.
Cold syllables. They scratch maps in frost on dark windows,
but no one can read them.

Cross the threshold. This night is ancient and long.
Whisper in my ear, tell me what the new year will bring.
Look at how the candle uses up its wax. See how the smoke
rises in the hearth.
~Barbara Crooker
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