Todos los Santos, the day of the dead: when everyone whitewashes and scrubs
loved ones’ graves, releasing them a little more each year for passage into heaven.
It’s a picnic, a family or class reunion, the time to pay or extend old debts. No one
finds it grotesque there are karaoke contests across this acreage: rehearsals for heaven.
Chinese families burn joss sticks on their altars. Ancestors in faded sepia
photographs regard offerings of fruit, strips of inked messages lit for heaven.
More than two decades after your death, your image is more than lucid: hovering in
the doorway, in a bathrobe. Time hasn’t assuaged all pain of your departure for heaven.
Here, the days turn chill; leaves deepen from green to gold and scarlet.
Frosted breath lofts up like incense smoke, as if uncaged, or leavened.