Zombie Poetry Zombie

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Zombie Poetry Zombie

"Poetry is the past that breaks out in our hearts."
-- Rilke

There you have it: zombies.
Didn't you always suspect?
"Poetry is the past
that breaks out in our hearts"
like a virus, like an infection.
How many poems occur about
the dead one who isn't dead,
the lost one who semi-persists,
nudging hungrily up
through the leaf litter, the waste paper,
scratching against the window?

Take the once-young lover
encountered fifty years later
in the dim light of the foyer.
How blunt and smudged he is!
Mr. Potato Head
without the stick-on features:
someone you grope to remember.
Was it him who licked your neck?

And the clumsy Play-doh monster
you made at the age of four,
then squashed in a fit of anger
so his colours ran together:
he turns up on your doorstep
on a chill November night,
with the rain whispering sushi
sushi, and the tongueless
mouth mumbling your name.

Stay dead! Stay dead! you conjure,
you who wanted the past back.
Nothing doing. The creature
ambles through the dim forest,
a red, weeping monosyllable,
a smeared word tasting of sorrow.
Now it mutters and shambles
in a nimbus of dry-ice fog
down the garish overdone corridor
of gothic clocks into the mirror.

The hand on your shoulder. The almost-hand:
Poetry, coming to claim you.

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