Like some dreams, they appear, then reappear,
cloistered in the space of their own wounding,
their public mourning, their gravity’s gray coat.
Even at a distance, as if drawn by being seen,
they come straight at you, the almost-elegant woman
in the aisle, the tall young birdlike silent
weeping man. And no one need have died, no one
you know, to know their voices and half-faces,
the scent of the spirit passing, for whom blood
on the door or the blessing means nothing. But, then,
everyone died or didn’t, who calls to you in sleep
after your back is turned. In the parable,
like the dream, you’re all the characters,
though come the day, in real life, you must choose.


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