Saturday, November 18, 2017


Dead family members come and prod
and pull and murmur – gently furrowed brows
evince an odd distress – as if annoyed that I had not
yet guessed what seems to seem to them a patent mission –
the sort of shake and tug
you’d give a toddler who expects a hug
from every stranger: no, they seem to want to say: 
not there, not that one! – go the other way. 

My father has recovered from his Alzheimer’s,
my brother is no longer gaunt with AIDS, or gored by sores,
my mother doesn’t hack that last death rattle cough:
her black eye gotten from a fall from bed has vanished utterly.
Why do they, healed as they are now,
so sputter at me – what am I doing wrong?
And then I see it hasn’t anything to do with doing wrong,
but with their longing to belong again.

They seem to know they’ll drift from every consciousness
and disappear. Then even I’ll be gone; a matter not of if,
but when. No other Kettelhack will dawn.
Who’s dreaming this, you wonder – me or you or they?
Who’s been abandoned, who’s abandoning?
Me and you and they and who are specificities
which all will lose their use one day.
The individual inevitably just gets in the way.


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