Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day of the Dead

For Dia de los Muertos, the poem "If the Dead Came Back" by Robert Pinsky:

What if the dead came back not only
In the shape of your skull your mouth your hands
The voice inside your mouth the voice inside
Your skull the words in your ears the work in your hands,
What if they came back not only in surnames
Nicknames, names of dead settlement shtetl pueblo

Not only in cities fabled or condemned also countless dead
Peoples languages pantheons stupidities arts,
As we too in turn come back not only occulted
In legends like the conquerors' guilty whisperings about
Little People or the Old Ones and not only in Indian angles
Of the cowboy's eyes and cheeks the Dakota molecules

Of his body and acquired antibodies, and in the lymphatic
Marshes where your little reed boat floats inches
Above the mud of oblivion O foundling in legends
The dead who know the future require a blood offering
Or your one hand accuses the other both lacking any
Sacrifice for the engendering appetites of the dead.

From the collection
Gulf Music.
Robert Pinsky was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000.

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