Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

Death is sitting on my left shoulder, insisting
I remember, Death tapping
whispering, Don’t you dare forget, girl.

I took your son, your friend, your husband,
the first boy who ever kissed you
and if you don’t watch out

I’ll get everyone you want to love.
I’m not talking about old age.

Here I am with Death dancing
with my head on his shoulder.
He collects my tears in the bowl of

his collarbone.
I long to be comforted, am squeezed
between his ribs trying to find

a heartbeat. In the silence I whisper No
because the embrace is all too clear,
he wants to claim something that isn’t

mine to give. When I walked
among the graves in Oaxaca
death felt like warm yellow candlelight

spilling across the scars carved into the
ground, the young and the old cast in
their perpetual costumes, the young

dressed in excitement, masks, pulling
at my coat to beg for a treat, the old
huddled together for companionship

as they kept vigil, as they murmured
their memories into the smoke of copal.
At the entrance to el campo santo

we bought hand-made clay coffee mugs
painted with all the colors of Mexico
fragile as the mist among the broken corn

stalks, bright as a Mariachi tune
played at a wedding.
Death is tapping on my forehead

his insistent subtle chatter,
What if? What if?
I hold out my arms as if I could

make a bargain but it’s a lie.
I would gladly pay the debt if it meant
we would finally love

without fear. Do I dare to take
another knowing Death is jealous
of anyone I ever hold close?

Death, I am asking for a divorce.
I’m not talking about rest in peace.

No comments: