You Say You Are Dead

You Say You Are Dead

The cloud of it makes for gloomy dust
that settles on drapes upstairs where
a vow was made to clean

The creaky steps used to be a music
and as a joke you went up and down a step
like Shirley Temple doing tap dancing:
up the stairs to the room where
scintillating were the tones
of color and voice

The cloud of it makes memory dust
and a vow to clean. Why do you always

put your love on the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner. You don’t have to
be that clean. There is no
death in a vacuum. Just dust.

Nature abhors a vacuum but you’re OK
as long as you’re of the deadness that
stills the house dumped on
the wicked witch of the west
in the tornado of Dorothy’s dream.

Pray tell, how does deadness speak without
wetted words of dread and dampness blanketing as a fog.

If you can not give us words, why do you
haunt us with desires unspoken. If you
will not ask us, how do you know
we will not grant it. Never mind, shush.

You probably would ask too much or too little.
What can we offer the dead but silence or a party. You could chose one.

— Douglas Gilbert