series has brought us from dress-up to crunchy leaves to remembering
the dead, the full gamut of the season. Hasn’t it been fun?
Contributor Series 2: Candy and Spirits
Days of the Dead
By Cassie Premo Steele
I lay out plates of food for the dead
and circle their pictures there, to welcome
back spirits in this cold November air.
I show you your relations, and you wave
like you’ve seen them before, and I ask you,
Baby, how are they doing, is my uncle
still drinking, is that one still crying,
does this one still like being a nun?
You smile at me, silly, as if to say how human
I am, as if you cannot believe that I
do not know that we are more
than all this, once we are dead.
I pause, shake my head,
try to imagine an alcoholic without his habit,
a nun without hers, a depressed woman
happy and away from her bed.
And then I see that what would remain
would be the mystery that makes people
love a baby, so full of hunger, dying to be fed,
our link back to the beginning, the needful
beat of being that goes on going
long after we all are dead.
Cassie Premo Steele’s poetry (Contributor Series 1: 9/11, What the tree has seen; The Poemgranate) has appeared at vox poetica in 2009.