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.