Poem #11 of 30

NAMING THE DEAD

To clarify his failure to respond the first time:
I am no longer the person I used to be
He has chosen a new name that is not spoken;
never written.  Though any consecration would do
he holds it like a sword’s point to his side so
any movement will mean blood; a swift or
forceful one: more.  And waits until the 11th Day.

This is how it goes:
Water comes first, then dirt (but not before the severance
and draining he knows well: I am no longer the person I used to be)
and always, there must be salt
regulating the exchange of water
between each living cell and the fluid
that surrounds it.  Healing what it can.

Speculations fail his attention.
I am no longer the person I used to be.
11 days pass before the backyard is
opened to sever the connection; later to be salted
(after the smudging); its ancient role
as source of power and money
vying for its position with Water.

We all, he would point out, spent the first months
of our lives in a sac of salty water.  And in these next months
he will make do with his eyes, staring into what they
call empty, smiling sometimes to let them know
it’s not.

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