Poem – What Our Dead Do

Jan came this morning—

I dreamt of my father

he says
he was riding in an oak coffin

I walked next to the hearse

and father turned to me:
you dressed me nicely

and the funeral is very beautiful

at this time of year so many flowers

it must have cost a lot
don’t worry about it father

—I say—let people see

we loved you

that we spared nothing
six men in black livery

walk nicely at our sides
father thought for a while

and said—the key to the desk

is in the silver inkwell

there is still some money

in the second drawer on the left
with this money—I say—

we will buy you a gravestone

a large one of black marble
it isn’t necessary—says father—

better give it to the poor
six men in black livery

walk nicely at our sides

they carry burning lanterns
again he seemed to be thinking

—take care of the flowers in the garden

cover them for the winter

I don’t want them to be wasted
you are the oldest—he says—

from a little felt bag behind the painting

take out the cuff links with real pearls

let them bring you luck

my mother gave them to me

when I finished high school

then he didn’t say anything

he must have entered a deeper sleep
this is how our dead

look after us

they warn us through dreams

bring back lost money

hunt for jobs

whisper the numbers of lottery tickets

or when they can’t do this

knock with their fingers on the windows
and out of gratitude

we imagine immortality for them

snug as the burrow of a mouse 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.