Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch
Sometimes we catch them out of the corners of our eyes—
the pale dead.
After they have fled
the gourds of their bodies, like escaping fragrances they rise.
Once they have become a cloud’s mist, sometimes like the rain
they appear, sometimes silver like laughter,
to gladden the hearts of men.
Sometimes like a pale gray fog, they drift
unencumbered, yet lumbrously,
as if over the sea
there was the lightest vapor even Atlas could not lift.
Sometimes they haunt our dreams like forgotten melodies
Though they lie dismembered
in black catacombs, sepulchers and dismal graves; although they have committed felonies,
yet they are us. Someday soon we will meet them in the graveyard dust
blood-engorged, but never sated
since Cain slew Abel.
But until we become them, let us steadfastly forget them, even as we know our children must …