Little Industry of Ghosts

Lucie Brock-Broido

How is it you can explain their living here with me, leaning
On their cellos, doleful and plenty.

In my single-person tax-bracket of one alive, there are more
Living here with me not alive

Than are.   You are a good
Dog now. Rising, supposing, loom large for me.

Turn down all the rows of white sheets in the rows
Of white cots for your wounded

To settle in. Look, the boy with a cane walks

Three-legged down our Avenue, three-quarters
Of a cur, but he’s as gifted limping as the elegy you wrote

For me and I am still alive! It was a poem clear, here
In hindsight, as flounder flesh unwrapped from

Its bed of newspaper, unspoiled. Would that you come home
Now, healed and appalled.

It could have been reparable; we would have gathered
Like a din of two nurses at the metal rails of vigil

At your impossible bed. Would that we, erstwhile, will.
            Would that our Liam were living still.       

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