The Dead

The dead do not walk and ravage flesh and trample
do not haunt us into mimicking their traditions
and repeating their creeds until our numb tongues
stop tasting spice and heat and sour and now

The dead do not sit impatient judging us from next Thursday
or from some ill-calculated millennial crashing horizon
wondering if we will ever figure it out and solve the puzzle
as well as they did in their spurt of energized entropy on earth

The dead sing to us their layered madrigals of mettle
that we will listen to their small triumphs of concrete love
and sympathize with their incarnate suffering without verdict
welcoming what shards of their wisdom survived modernity

These holy ones draw us into the future with silk string tugs
urging us to feel the gentle pull even now in this still and stuck day
swamping our hearts with this one mystery that floods us all
the finite bears the infinite, even their and our wrecked finitudes

So on this point the Bible is surely wrong about the future
that there will be no more tears in the holy city
their eyes water the river of life with joy overflowing
as they sit with us already sipping wine on the downtown shore


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