If not from this life, from the next

…we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit’s growth—
~ From The Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke

They poisoned the water
before taking it away. They said:

choose a death alone in a park
with no witnesses, or one

in a schoolroom, in the company
of others. They said you can’t

have it all, though you have
but little. So they schemed

to separate sibling from sibling,
parent from child. Before the corpses

were evicted or buried, one of their own
remembered to snap the rosary chains

they clutched in their hands:
for revenge, and to keep the border

permeable— that thin line dividing
this world and the next and the next.

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