Poem for Making our Dead Visible

You come into the light 
drawn by copitas filled with water,
gold flame of candles, our mouthed 
prayers; banners painted for protest 
marches in the aftermath 

of your deaths— For years to come 
you'll eat the offerings we leave 
on makeshift altars: spaces 
cleared on top of the TV stand, 
the tiled counter next to the sink—

When a butterfly
When a bird of a different color
When a residue of ash forms the hand-
drawn shapes of your names 

When a pattern of lifted fish scales
makes a trellis on the body—

Memory makes a silk knot
in the vein. 

Memory rushes away, sure of its going; 
escort now to the migratory flock.

In the wood, the trees
only appear identical. The moon
when it rises scatters words
of mother-of-pearl.

Memory finds the rusted
padlock and the boarding pass.
Notice how a blade of grass, held
against skin, is both soft
and sharp enough.  
 

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