The Guardians

Every now and then they make
their appearance in a dream—

the dead beloved I last glimpsed
from a high window, brushing

their teeth at the chipped yellow
porcelain sink, then drinking

from a small plastic cup
to rinse. Or sitting in a sliver

of moonlight, in a white metal
garden chair, dressed in nothing

but undergarments. I look into
their eyes of cloudy agate, filled

with the sorrow of a child who can’t
find anyone in the empty house

to tug her buttons into place,
to tie her difficult shoelaces.

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