the dead came in threes

from between the trees

they slipped in through the cracks

catching me up on their backs.

the first:  she was young, she was fair, she was lovely

the apple of her mothers’ eye, the jewel upon her aunties’ crown,

with plump smooth cheeks and never a frown she stood gazing down

on me with a brilliant smile beckoning

to come with her and we glided on.

then came the tiger with mustachios like lashios

bristling, sharp, stiff, pointed

he kept them twirled and oiled and anointed

while he barked out Left! Right! Left! Right!


i left him there to ponder and stare

while sitting against a wall with my mother,

where she talked about beaches and the cost of peaches,

i sat and erased and rubbed away

the mark that a sharpie had made one fine day

on a sheet of paper where there was a name stricken through

it said Jim   and was darkened with shame

and over the years another Jim took the blame

for something that never had been quite true.

so i leaned over and showed her and said,

“take a look” and she stopped talking and saw that hidden below

the dead space once blackened had begun to now glow,

her face filled with wonder her eyes filled with tears

as she finally saw thirty years worth of fears

were based on a lie, on a word misunderstood

and that’s when my granny took me back to the wood:

she came prettily pink with a gauzy black veil

lilac, lily of the valley, and sambac all marking her trail

she took me, we walked, we talked, we held hands

we went to where her mother lay beneath all the lands

then she smiled and she left me

the dead went away,

back through the cracks till the dawn of this day

it arose and awoke brought me out of my dream

and that’s when my children jumped on my bed as a team.

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