Laylage Courie The 2River View, 9.3 (Spring 2005)
Why People Die

Because we are trees
          and our roots miss them.

          poppies pushed from the ground
          with blood smeared on our mouths.

Because there is one river that does not empty into the sea.

Because only with beads of bone strung on sorrow do we pray.

Because doorways are made of
          stone iron gold wood
and these things come from the ground.

Because habits     (     say
                                             living     )     cannot continue.

Because bones must be scattered like clothing
          before we are revealed to the lover.

Because only with ghosts do we speak truthfully
          words accumulating over the mountains of our breast
          wild birds push into the mist invisible flaps
          startle us awake

The dead wring our hearts like dishrags.
They extinguish the lamps on our porches.
They feed rain through the screens.
They stand amidst the shadows of shaken branches.
They bend like the branches in a gesture of parting.
They bend as if casting pebbles or bones.
They mark the path of departure.

Because we must follow them
stone to scintillant stone.

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