I banquet with the dead. Deep in the bowels of the City,
We dip unborn dreams in anguish and misfortune.
Our tongues rasp hope off solitary vertebrae;
In our cups, your faith goes stale.
Night after night, five-fingered death-flowers
Drill thousands of holes in the never cooling asphalt.
The dead clutch your ankles and then climb up your legs;
Distal phalanges dig micro-graves
In your thighs, but you don’t feel a thing.
You keep walking, and chatting, and daydreaming,
As the dead claw and bite their way to the top of your head.
I don’t command the dead. Sometimes, though,
They help me with the meagerest of my tasks.
Each All Hallows Eve, the dead bring me small treasures
they stumble upon in the myriad of tunnels they
Keep digging underneath the City.
I’m not a fool. I’d never even attempt to stop the dead
From doing whatever it is that the dead do.
The dead, they don’t always crawl back to their graves
After having gnawed on your mind. Some of them stick to you
Like flies stick to fly ribbons, never to let go willingly,
Whispering their own nightmares and bitter defeats into your ears.
And when you break, because you will—the dead abhor the living
Or are, at best, indifferent to their suffering—they drink
You through the small cracks they punched
Through your skull.
I clean up after the dead,
Scrape the cobblestones when they leave bits of you behind.
I carry chunks of your bones in my purse,
Neatly organized in hundreds of tiny pockets, next to
The thoughts and reveries the dead spat out after having