We are the dead, I’m only learning.

I’m only now learning to be doing

 

what I always wanted to do,

and only now learning to give a name

 

to the moment, because I am the dead,

and you are the dead, and the dead are also around us.

 

I like to remember this, to turn the we

into a you and an I for a little while.

 

I like to ask you what you see out there

and then to return to the notes I made when I did it.

 

I went to a funeral, and I got up there

and said something. I was there with my sister.

 

We were reading the words. Natalie walked in

with her baby, and I thought about poetry.

 

My sister was talking. I thought about how dead

we all are in the future, where we’re going,

 

and how a baby figures into all of this.

We used to be babies. I’ve given it some thought,

 

but I’m only learning. We know, for instance, our power

in the aggregate as opposed to our weakness on our own.

 

We feel the irresistible pull, but it’s only the dead,

and they’re dead. My sister and I were there on the stage

 

imagining the pull of the ground, and I said it was confusing.

Someone was dead, and while they were dying, it felt

 

like they were trying not to, but there’s no not dying.

My grandmother is gone, and now the constellations

 

are trying to tell me something. No, they aren’t.

I’m trying to tell myself, and I’m using the stars.

 

It’s confusing, but I think it’s mostly okay.

I’m thinking about Natalie at the gravesite

 

with the baby, and all of us there

surrounded by so many stones.

 

I’m learning to see what I am in what I wanted

to do and what I’m doing now, but hopefully

 

more the latter. I read in the words confusion

over what we become, for we become dead,

 

and our words flash before

the gathered congregation. We hope,

 

in dying, there will be someone left

to provide the context. What was it

 

we were trying to do? There have been all of these

distractions, and I seem to have forgotten.

 

 

 

p>landmanSeth Landman lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. He is the author of Sign You Were Mistaken (Factory Hollow Press, 2013) and Confidence (Brooklyn Arts Press, forthcoming). 

Filed under: Poetry

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