Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Conversations with the Dead

“Is it like an unraveling?” I ask.
“No, I told you last year it wasn’t like that,” you say, looking down at your fingers.

I pour myself more wine
but you still haven’t touched yours.

“It’s more like tunneling,” you say, and I try not to look at your fingernails.
As if you have been digging in the dirt for so long your fingers bend back.

I nod. I don’t know what else to say. You continue.

“It’s hard and it hurts. There is snapping, like tree limbs, loud cracking
of bone against bone.”

“A splintering,” I offer, but you don’t say anything else.

“I thought it was supposed to be peaceful,” I tell you, sadly.
“Yes, it’s supposed to be. But what is peaceful?”

I think about what you said again before you leave.
I still haven’t gotten it right, this changing.

It is brittle bark. Crushed snail shells.
Things left un-watered. Everything cracks.

I thought a metamorphosis was always supposed to be for the better
but these days, it seems like everything has broken free.

Broken. Free.
Like bone to bone. Like the snapping back of the ribs.

The soul separating from the body. Summer crashing into winter
with the crush and hush of snow like a hand over your mouth.

Organs packed in ice and shipped off to be sliced down to their cells.
An undoing. An undying.

The dead, undying this time of year. Changing back to what they were,
if only for a moment, just to explain. And then gone again.

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