New York City skyline at night


Spring 2009



Deborah Flanagan

According to Heraclitus

I always liked the view of the Calvary Cemetery,
the vault of sky as evening darkens
over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

According to Heraclitus, a dry soul is best.
Then why do we bury them in the damp earth,
among the clutter of bones, butterfly wings, eggshells?

With the help of the phoenix and a sparrow
I imagine the dead rising,
standing up slowly, looking at each other,
disoriented, trying to remember
what their old bodies used to feel like
before they let go their mouldy clothes,
treasured keepsakes, cocoon of self-regard.

I want to remember what is lost,
predict the future,
see what lies beyond the skin of the body.

Connect the body back to the earth
with the soul's light.

But souls are fragile.
It's our responsibility not to destroy them

before they go black inside,
letting go their eggshell exteriors.

Evening darkens,
this is the moment of change.

We all live in each other's shadow.



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